Bouncy castles were a hit with the small children. Luka and Julien Tracy are pictured playing together on the entrance of the bouncy castle.Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Hundreds of people flocked the Agricultural Fairgrounds in Donnelly, AB, Aug. 11-13 to participate in the 75th Anniversary Fair of the Smoky River Agricultural Society.

Society president Linda Marcoux says they are happy with the turnout and recognize there were some items that need to change for the next fair.

The highlight of the Smoky River Agricultural Show was the mud bogs that were held throughout the three-day weekend. Above,a contestant tries their luck.

“I think it went well, although the Mud Bogs started two hours late on Saturday,” she says.

“We had lots of young families with their children, and this was great to see them out and participating in the different activities provided,” she adds.

A CAT was on hand to pull out trucks that couldn’t quite make it through the mud bogs. No lack of power here to help vehicles get out of the mud!

The main features of the show were the Mud Bogs, a Show and Shine event, and various children’s games and activities.

One of the Show and Shine’s registrations was this tiny electric car and wagon, registered by a young girl, who drove the buggy before the fair.

Many individuals did comment they were disappointed there wasn’t more agricultural aspects to the fair this year but commented that it was an inexpensive event to attend and a lot for children to do.

Rollande Boivin organized the market at the fair. About 10 home businesses sold their arts, crafts, and retail items with folks who attended the fair.

“My kids loved the bouncy castles,” says Krystine Wawrzonek- Tracy. “The junior firefighters were a lot of fun to watch, and the climbing wall was steadily busy but without a lineup.”

Unfortunately, due to a shortage of registrations, the baseball tournament was cancelled.

Smoky River Fire and Rescue deputy fire chief Chris Gullett, centre, participated in the Junior’s Firefighter Challenge.

This was the first fair since 2018, there was supposed to be one in 2020 but the COVID pandemic halted all plans for the event.

This energetic child was one of many who enjoyed the bouncy castles during the weekend.

The Smoky River Agricultural Society was incorporated in 1931, and it has been a staple in the region since its inception. The event used to feature gymkhanas and demolition derbies, but over the years they’ve had to alter the type of events they hold.

“A lot of kids haven’t taken up the activities we used to have,” says Marcoux. “So, we opened it up to other things.”

One of the most popular attractions at the fair was the rock climbing wall that attracted a number of children throughout the day.

Although the event may not have had the agricultural flair some had hoped, there were positive comments about the family-friendly items and inexpensive fee.

Hundreds of people gathered at the stands through the weekend at the Smoky River Agricultural Fair.

“It was a reasonable entry price,” says attendee Real Gauthier. “Not many places you can go and enjoy a fair for less than $20, so $10 was a bargain.

Show and shine organizer Korby Boulet with the lineup of cars entered into the contest. Other show and shines in the region impacted entries.

“Also, I liked that they had a family rate that was cheaper than one ticket at K-Days, it made it nice for families, too. Now if only the Mud Bogs started on time.”

A contestant in the mud bog sprays mud around the vehicle.

All attendees spoken to said they will attend the next fair, but hope that there are some agricultural elements added next time.

By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 23, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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