Shrieks of excitement from the midway. Freshly baked mini-donuts sending your taste buds into overdrive. The ground rumbling under your feet as the heavy horses parade by. These are just a few of the sights, sounds and smells at the Carp Fair.
It’s the time of year when this girl gits her country on y’all. I love me a good ol’ fair. Growing up in a small town, my parents always took me to the local fair. And by took me I mean handed me twenty bucks and dropped me off down the street so I wouldn’t be seen with them. Gawd forbid you be seen with your parents at 13. Today it is so much more than that.
The tradition of attending with my parents has continued. Difference? I actually enjoy it with them instead of running from them. Cause I’m all mature and stuff now. I am fortunate enough to live just around the corner from the “Best Little Fair in Canada”, the Carp Fair. Starting the Thursday evening straight through until Sunday, you will find me lost somewhere in the fairgrounds.
Whether you are or have lils’ or bigs, the Carp Fair is an experience for all. The annual fall fair is a harvest of foods, crafts, agricultural displays and entertainment. Not to get all cliché but it really does have something for everyone. Here are just a few of the reasons why you need to attend:
Heavy Horse Show
I may be a little biased but for starters it has one of the best heavy horse displays in the country, if not the world. Last year for the 150th anniversary of the Fair, there were 150 heavy horses in the ring at once. Over 300,000 pounds of beauty and power. Percherons, Clydesdales and Belgians lined up to set a world record last year for the most number of draft horses in an outdoor ring at one time.
Regardless of whether the Fair is trying to set records or not, it is always an impressive display of entries. My favourite teams from across the country and Northern New York travel to the centre of the universe.
Horses not your thing? How about the thrills of the midway? From spinnie rides (this is where you will not find me) and high-flying drops to something a little more my paced like the Farris Wheel, the huge midway at the Carp Fair is a playground for the young and not so young.
While you’re there you’ll want to reenergize. Your taste buds will be in sensory overload as you try to decide. From the Huntley Community Association’s homemade burgers (their secret sauce will have you going back for another) to smoked ribs to sweet treats, you’ll want it all. Each day I get a fruit fondue. I mean, I am getting the necessary daily serving of fruit in one tray after all.
Hubs and I started a tradition when we started dating: every fair we go to we leave with candy apples for later.
The Carp Fair stays true to the roots of a local fair promoting agriculture. It offers a venue for those from across the province to showcase livestock, arts, crafts and produce. Your day can be filled at the barns alone with cattle and sheep shows or learning how to sheer sheep or milk a cow.
Agricultural displays aren’t just about farmers. It’s an opportunity for juniors to exhibit the skills they have learned over the course of the year. 4-H emphasizes the importance of looking at the big picture; that youth need to see beyond themselves and focus on how their actions affect their relationships, their community, the environment and society as a whole. Make sure you stop in to the show barns and show your support to the youth of the farming community.
There won’t be any dust on the bottle at the 151st Carp Fair. Live music is a huge draw. The fair brings some of the best country music, classic and up-and-comer artists to the area. This year’s headliners include David Lee Murhpy and Canadian artist Delaney Grant. The entertainment hall is a place for the bigs to escape for a bit, sit down and enjoy a cold bevie.
If you’re a local, or working on your local status like I am, then you won’t want to miss the kick-off of the Carp Fair on Thursday evening. It’s a good ole’ hoedown featuring local legends Gail Gavan and the Ryan Brothers.
Find the full entertainment lineup and packages here. Don’t feel like driving home after the show? There’s even a camping package this year!
If that’s not enough there are hundreds of other things to keep you and your family entertained at the Carp Fair. From the President’s Choice SuperDogs to magic shows and petting zoos, it truly is the “Best Little Fair in Canada”.
What you need to know
Dates: Thursday, September 25 – Sunday, September 28 rain or shine
Tickets: you can buy tickets in advance online here or at the gate
Getting there: The Carp Fairgrounds is only a short drive from Ottawa and Valley. Find directions here
For more info on the 151st Carp Fair including the full schedule of events, visit their website.
Here is your chance to win a family pass to the Carp Fair. It’s All About Me has a package valued at $120 that includes 4 gate admission tickets (your entry to the fair) and 2 books of ride coupons (35 coupons each). While the package is valued the memories you create will be priceless. Open to Canadians, 18+.