Annual Agricultural Field Day set to go

Wallie Sears
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Vistors to the Doncaster Farm check out some of the rabbits on display at a previous Agricultural Field Day.

SACKVILLE, N.B. – The 10th annual Agricultural Field Day, being held in memory of founder the late Bud Doncaster, will take place at the Doncaster Farm on Saturday, Sept. 20, and will be the main feature of the Sackville Fall Fair.

Doncaster actually launched the beginnings of this event in 1995 and it has grown over the years. Following his death, the decision was made to continue it as a living legacy to a man who loved the earth and whose goal was to provide an opportunity where young people would come to understand how food begins in the earth and ends up on the kitchen table.

Bud Doncaster’s close friend, Derrick Acton, took up the call and has served as coordinator while sticking close to the ideals of the founder. He is assisted each year by a strong committee, which the remainder of the Doncaster family play a leading role in.

The fair offers up entertainment, amusement and education for all age groups. For the older generation there are demonstrations of hay pressing, grain threshing and displays of antique tools and equipment. For the youngsters there are such things as pony rides, a petting zoo and a demonstration of milking. And for all there will be an outstanding musical presentation taking place on stage during most of the day.

One of the features is that, in sticking to the founder’s wishes, there will be no admission fee. He insisted that nobody be denied access due to a shortage of money and each year visitors may make a donation to help offset the costs. Town Council also provides a grant, while funds are also available from the federal government for such activities.

As usual, off-site parking will be available at the Tantramar Veterans Regional Memorial Civic Centre, with a 15-minute shuttle service offered to carry visitors across the busy highway. At the same time a minor hockey tournament will be taking place.

When the field day originated it attracted 500 visitors but it has ballooned to as many as 5,000 each year and has attained national recognition. It attracts spectators from across Canada and from many parts of the U.S., especially those who have grown up in a country setting and are interested in reconnecting with the earth.

And the growing fame has resulted in more and more demonstrators wishing to participate. For example there will be a woodsmen’s competition under the direction of Mario Basque of Memramcook. This will consist of three to four shows a day and will consist men chopping, sawing and fire building.

An expert from Oxford will demonstrate the latest techniques in sheep shearing, while there will be artisans from Acadien Village demonstrating broom and basket weaving.

But these are only a handful of  attractions. Early in the spring Acton designed an ideal maze and planted a corn crop. Later, rows were cut and in the center of the field is the word MAZE, which may be seen clearly from the air. While the late spring has resulted in shorter corn stalks they still will be high enough to force walkers to find their way.

In predicting this will be the biggest fair yet Acton has announced a couple of really big names for the music show. Headlining will be the Canadian country music icon Ryan Cook of Yarmouth. Cook may be best known in Sackville for having played the role of Hank Williams Junior in the Live Bait production. This proved to be one of the most popular shows in the history of the professional theatre troupe and Cook was acclaimed for his portrayal. 

The 33-year old country singer, songwriter, musician plays the guitar and does vocals and has gained national acclaim and nomination at each level from provincial to national for his work.

Acton says radio personality Randy Geddes and musician Jacquie Vantourinot have put together an amazing array of talent with many local performers and he says one group considered the top band of its kind from Amherst will perform during the day.

Various local organizations will provide refreshments, including a barbecue while a large home cooking and handcraft show is a feature. 

“There are just so many events for everybody to enjoy,” says Acton. “Perhaps all we need now would be more volunteers as it takes dozens of men and women to put on a show of this magnitude.”

The only break throughout the day in activities will be a brief period to allow visitors to take in the huge street parade and then it will resume until late afternoon.

Organizations: Doncaster Farm

Geographic location: SACKVILLE, Canada, U.S. Oxford Acadien Village

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