Friday, 11 November 2011

A Visit to The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Today Teena and I went to the The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair which is held in the Energy Centre, Horse Palace and Coliseum at Exhibition Place. For us, it's just a 15 minute walk.

The Royal is an annual event at the CNE. It biggest indoor show in North America and this is the 87th year for it. I remember going on a few school trips to the fair and haven't been for probably 30 years. Teena has never been and did not know what to expect.

"It is home to world class wines, cheeses, jams, jellies, maple syrup, wool and honey. We are known for pioneering innovations in agriculture, growing the largest and highest quality crops and livestock and for supporting Canadian and international farmers by showcasing their produce for all to see."

Take your small town fair and expand it many times and you have the Royal. My mom won many prizes for her pies and preserves in the fairs around where she lives and those same competitions take place here.

It was a fun day and we plan to go next year. Here's our day in pictures.

We knew it was a different show when we first walked in. The shops sold different things than the shows we usually attend. We could have come home with a saddle, horse blanket or hoof remedies. There were also food courts and the usual collection of vendors with everyday wares.

There was a horse demonstration explaining what happens to thoroughbreds after their racing career is over. They get new careers! It was quite interesting.

A visit to the Royal is not complete without seeing some livestock judging. We were there in tome for the Junior Champion and Reserve Class 7 Jersey competition. Teena said it reminded her of the movie Best in Show. She was right. Here are the competitors parading around the ring.

The judge.

Decision time. The line on the right have been eliminated. The judge takes one more look before pointing to winner, then 2nd and 3rd place.

The winner!

This was amazing. The giant squash and pumpkin competition. The giant squash at the front on the ground was the winner at 1199.4 lbs. It was grown in Picton.

The biggest pumpkin was 313.4 lbs. This one had a better shape and was 304.6 pounds.

Imagine growing a 1004.8lb squash in your Scarborough back yard and not winning! This is the second place winner.

Proof that I can talk about anything. There was a hay judging competition. The winners were on display. Two other guys came to look and we had a 5 minute conversation on how the hay might be judged. An interesting conversation too. All I know is I have done my fair share of haying in my time.

In the country, "cute chicks" have a different meaning.

The butter sculpting competition.

We hit the cow barn at milking time. Teena had never seen a milking machine in action. I have done this a few thousand times. This cow had won the red ribbon.

I love the pig section. Sadly we missed the main part and only saw a couple. The piglets here were so cute. They were born on October 30.

Sheep before being sheared.

Sheep keeping warm after being sheared.

The wool is judged.

The sheep are judged too.

At the end of the day, we hit the The Royal Brewhouse, sponsored by the Griffin Gastropub in Bracebridge which featured Ontario craft beer and Ontario wine. Teena sampled flights of wine, while I had beer. The Royal Horse Show was being shown live from the arena on the TV and surprisingly Teena and I were great at picking out the winners. The heavy horse competition is shown here.

It's a fun day out that I would recommend to anyone!

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