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“Fair bridges urban-rural divide,” says new Ambassador

September 30, 2016   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh


The ribbons are down and the prize pumpkins have been hauled away as another fair season closes in Shelburne.

Area residents came out in crowds on September 18 to get a glimpse of the shiny old autos glimmering at the car show, hear the roar of the engines at the derby, see the horses, the sheep, the cows, and to gaze at the best of crafts and baked goods, antiques and agriculture in the area at Exhibit Hall.

The rain the day before caused some disappointments, but the spirit of the Fair and our community was best summed up by newly crowned Ambassador Carly Phillips – a young entrepreneur, a scholar, a horse whisperer, and a country girl from Melancthon Township:

“I am so honoured to have been chosen as the 149th Shelburne Fall Fair Ambassador,” she said. “I have been around and involved in the fair and this community for my entire life, but being an ambassador gave me the opportunity to see and experience my hometown in a whole new light. I want to say thank you to everyone who volunteers, donates and came out to support the fair last weekend. The word ‘community’ never held so much meaning for me before. I hope everyone is as excited for next year as I am! I’ll see you there!”

That sentiment was echoed by Fair Board President Bruce Peterson as well

“Huge thanks to all board members, directors, sponsors, volunteers, vendors, spectators, exhibitors and friends for a great time at this year’s fair,” said Peterson. “It was a bit wet…okay, very wet on Saturday, but we all made up for it Sunday. We have already started talking about our 150th Fall Fair in 2017.”

For those who may have missed the fair and Carly Phillip’s winning speech as Ambassador, she has generously shared it with our Free Press readers, giving everyone the opportunity to experience an important moment of the 2016 Shelburne and District Fall Fair:.


Presented by Carly Phillips September 16, 2016:


There’s an old adage that goes, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” but nowadays, many people don’t know where either came from, let alone which came first. Honourable judges, fellow competitors, ladies and gentlemen.

In 2008, for the first time in human history, our planet’s urban population exceeded rural. By 2050, the world’s population is expected to surpass nine billion, 2/3 of which will be living in towns and cities by this time.

People urbanize for many very justifiable reasons. Towns and cities provide comforts and conveniences the country does not. Having lived in rural Ontario my entire life, I know what it’s like being stuck in the lane in -20, in four feet of snow, at 7 a.m. waiting for dad to come with the plow to get me out. Larger urban centres come with more opportunities for education, employment and, as anyone who pays hydro on a farm will know, cheaper living.

So, what does this mean? Have you ever heard the saying, “Once in your life, you will need a doctor, a lawyer, and a priest, but every day – three times a day – you need a farmer”? As the average age of farmers increases every year, and the amount of farmland lost every day, we as a whole become farther and farther removed from our source of food, while at the same time requiring more than ever before.

Today, when we need a carton of milk to eat with a bowl of cereal, we head to the grocery store a couple minutes down the street. When we get hungry going on a trip, we stop at Super Burger for a quick bite. Today, that carton of milk or that hamburger contains products from dozens or even hundreds of different animals that may live on the other side of the planet. Massive advancements in agricultural technology have made possible things our grandparents never could have imagined.

You’re probably thinking: what’s wrong with that? Well, the fact is that less than 100 years ago, our grandparents were almost completely self-sufficient. Almost everything they ate or used or wore came off their very own farm – out of their barn or garden or field. Believe it or not, eggs DON’T come from the store. Maybe that’s a good thing, because if your kids knew where they came from, they probably wouldn’t eat them!

All of this makes a fair such as ours an important tool to bridge the urban and rural divide. There will be kids at our fair who have never held a baby chick or been close to a horse, and seeing them experience this for the first time is truly amazing. All of the volunteers work hard all year to bring our rural roots and rubber boots to town.

I would be proud to represent the Shelburne & District Agricultural Society for the 2016/17 year – a very special year where both Canada and our Fair get ready to celebrate their 150th anniversary.”


Carly Phillips will indeed represent the Shelburne and District Agricultural Society for the next year. This includes visiting many fairs and events across the area and competing at the next Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.

Carly is a 21 year old honour student at Georgian College and winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Georgian for her dry wall business “Getting Plastered.” Her dream and life goal is to work training horses – a passion she is already pursuing.

Kersten-Mary Skilton, a Grade 9 student at Centre Dufferin District High School, and Shelburne’s new Junior Fair Ambassador, told the Shelburne Free Press, “I am extremely honoured to have been given this opportunity to represent the Shelburne Agricultural Society as Junior Fair Ambassador for 2016/17.

“I am looking forward to participating in many community events, meeting new people, and bringing awareness of the importance of agriculture and the Shelburne Fall Fair.”

Congratulations to both Carly and Kersten-Mary Skilton as Fair Ambassadors and to the volunteers of the Shelburne and District Fair for their dedication to community service.



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