An event that has traditionally marked the height of summer in Wiarton is set for this weekend.
The 82nd annual Village Fair is being presented by the Rotary Club of Wiarton in Bluewater Park beginning on Friday and running until Monday.
“Everybody always says, Oh, it is the village fair. That means the summer is almost over,” said Mike Mason, a past president of the club and chair of the fair from 2016 to 2018.
The fair has been part of the Wiarton landscape since the time the Rotary Club started up in Wiarton in February 1938. They held the Village Fair that first year over the August long weekend and have been running it ever since.
“Things have changed over the years, but it is an outstanding accomplishment,” Mason said.
He said the event is a major accomplishment for the community with a huge amount of planning and hundreds of volunteers involved each year.
“In the food booth alone we have 166 volunteer slots we have to fill over the three-and-a-half days,” Mason said. “That doesn’t include the Rotarian volunteers who actually do the supervising and overseeing of what is happening.”
Mason said this year it has been difficult finding a full compliment of volunteers because of a labour shortage in the area that has seen most youth employed, which means they haven’t been able to volunteer, but the community has stepped up and they look to be in good shape going into the weekend.
“We have had to throw our tentacles much further afield than we ever have before to put this on,” said Mason.
The fair will open Friday evening from 6 to 11 p.m. and then run from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday to Monday.
The fair this year will again include a midway, baseball tournament, games, events and food.
Mason also noted that the popular dunk tank and ferris wheel are both back at this year’s fair after an absence from the event last year.
Admission to the grounds is free each day with special events throughout the weekend.
Bingo begins each evening at 7 p.m. with a cash payout of $100 at the end of the evening. The midway runs until 11 p.m. each evening.
Sunday is family day at the fair, with a free kids zone operating from noon to 4 p.m.
For $30 on Sunday, attendees can purchase a wristband entitling them to ride the midway’s carnival rides all afternoon until 6 p.m.
Other events on Sunday include children’s entertainer Erick Traplin performing at noon and 3 p.m. and a Party Safari animal show at 2 p.m. There will also be mural painting, shirt and visor painting, a fairy garden project and face painting.
The firefighter’s beef barbecue runs Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m., while there will be fireworks over Colpoy’s Bay at Dusk.
On Monday, the Rotary Club will be holding the annual Shore to Shore race from Oliphant to Wiarton, beginning at 8 a.m. There will be a hammer slammer slam off at 8 p.m., while the Bruce Peninsula Health Services Foundation Live Your Dream lottery draw takes place at 10 p.m. with someone taking home $15,000.
Mason said the event is important as their top fundraiser each year, followed closely by the Maple Magic event held each spring.
Funds raised will go to a number of initiatives they put on in the community, including phragmites control in Oliphant, tree planting with Peninsula Shores District School, the food bank, seniors activities in the town, work at Bluewater Park, and many more.
Further details about the fair are available online at www.wiartonrotary.org or on the club’s Facebook page.