A 4-H member grooms her prize sheep prior to judging at a recent Coombs Fair.

It’s the year of the sheep at the Coombs Fair

The first fair was held in 1913 — this year's version is August 13-14

  • Aug. 2, 2016 8:00 p.m.

By DEBBIE ADKINS

Special to The NEWS

The Coombs Fair is coming up on August 13- 14. This is the ‘Year of the Sheep,’ so be sure to take a tour through the sheep barns or catch a judging event. And remember to have a wooly good time at the fair this year.

First held in 1913 as a tailgate exhibit of local food products, our local fair has grown over the past century and is now the first fair of the fall cycle on Vancouver Island and is a favourite with 4-H and open exhibitors alike.

The Fair Entry catalogue is online at coombsfair.com or pick up a copy at Shar-Kare or Buckerfield’s. Have a look at the wide range of exhibit categories and register to enter one or more of the various competitions, you could win a prize.  Categories include horticulture, domestic science, needlecrafts, flowers, arts and crafts, and photography for children and adults.  Fill out an entry form and mail, email, fax or drop it off at the fair office drop box. Bring your actual exhibits and entry fees to the fair grounds on Thursday, Aug. 11, for judging on Friday morning. There are open and 4-H livestock competitions with 4-H members from all over Vancouver Island participating. There are additional 4-H only exhibits in crafts, sewing, photography, small engines and woolcraft. 4-H at the Coombs Fair is generously sponsored by Shar-Kare Feeds in Parksville.

A special event this year is the Poultry in Motion display, created by the B.C. Chicken Growers’ Association, in partnership with the B.C. Broiler Hatching Egg Producers’ Association. A mobile mini-barn, the trailer has three sections, showing how poultry farming is done in B.C. Be sure to check the APA sanctioned poultry show in the Poultry Barn.

The Reptile Guy, Mike Hopcroft, will be at this year’s fair, with an interactive display of reptiles including a giant tortoise.

Back by popular demand is the the Coombs Farmers’ Institute hands-on farm experience,  called “Farmers Feed Families.” This interactive display features agriculture awareness and education and global awareness, and will bring local farm families together with some of their wares to meet and talk with the public. In this authentic farmyard setting there will be things to do, things to taste, information to gain, learn about growing food in root bags and farm animals to see. Come learn about the healing power of nature with Kim Anderson of Green Diva and check the special display about invasive species.

Kids will enjoy two magic acts this year, the Wizard and Enchantress and Rick Portuondo, both featured on the Music Stage.  Other acts on the Music Stage include the Old Time Fiddlers, Rainbow Stew Cloggers, Belly Laughs Navel Academy, Joey Clarkson, Bev Finch, Hope King with Jayden Holman, Bob Hiebert, Alannah Clark and the Kumbana Marimba Band.

There will be interactive displays, vendors, concessions, a free children’s fun zone, bouncy castles, zucchini races, chicken & duck races, ladies’ nail driving, and much more. Grab a seat in the grandstand at the horse arena and enjoy English riding events on Saturday, and Western events on Sunday.

Fair gates are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days and each day starts with a great pancake breakfast, from 8-11 a.m. Admission for adults is $5 or $8 for a two-day pass; students 13-18 years of age and seniors 65-plus are $3 or $5 for a two-day pass; children 6-12 are $1, five and under are free. Exhibition buildings open at 9:30 am.

See ‘Ewe’ at this year’s Coombs Fair.

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