Herefords and Angus and Goats, Oh My!

Every morning I greeted the animals in the barns with hearty good mornings and told them how beautiful they all were.

December 5, 2012 | | Blogs | Community | Leisure | Red Squirrel Musings

Well folks, I think I have found the ultimate job. Fair Coordinator for the Orangeville Fair and Orangeville Agricultural Event Centre. I know, how crazy is this! But I applied, was interviewed and I got the job in May 2012. The Fair is now over and I can’t believe I survived!

So how does a city girl, the most non-rural girl get an agricultural job? I guess what they were looking for in the coming years of change and growth was an event coordinator – because they sure didn’t get a knowledgeable farm / fair specialist. I mean I know the difference between a cow and a horse. A goat and a sheep. A chicken and an egg. Just don’t ask me to define breed differences. And what the heck is a “yeld”  – I thought it was a typo!

It was the best fun I’ve had in years! Every morning I would arrive between 5-6am to start the coffee and get the lights on. Every morning I greeted the animals in the barns with hearty good mornings and told them how beautiful they all were. The donkey responded the loudest with hee-haws, the alpacas second with a little tune. The chickens clucked and the rooster, well, he cock-a-doddle doo’d at the top of his lungs! It was the highlight of my day.

One of my favourite stories is the day an exhibitor for the Angus show called on deadline day claiming he couldn’t get his form in on time and could we do it over the phone. Sure, no problem, I say. I ask the questions, he gives me the information. We get down to sex…male or female and he’s all quiet on the other end, then says, it’s a heifer. My turn  to be quiet. Hmm, that must mean something I quickly surmise. I finally give a big sigh and admit I may coordinate this Fair, but I don’t know everything about it, so, humour me, male or female. He starts to laugh, female, he says. Thanks, I say. He then proceeds to give me a quick education on the words for cattle, i.e., heifer, bull, steer. I ask if you can have a Hereford heifer and he laughs again. Yes you can. I put some money in an envelope to pay for his entry, telling him I’ll hunt him down like a dog if I don’t see him on the day of the show to pay me back. He was at the window that morning of the show, just as the office opened.

After the fact, I can tell you the Fair is a marvellous machination of volunteerism at its best. I have never quite witnessed a group of people who come together to put on an event and it just happens. Signs seamlessly appeared on the sides of roads: Come to the Fair, Labour Day Weekend, Orangeville Fairgrounds. Where did they come from? Who put them up? Like many things at the Fair, it just happens. It’s amazing.

For the most part, most of the work had already been done by the time I got hired. I just had to take care of a few details. And I threw in a few new ideas, like the helicopter rides and the farmers’ market. I also gleaned a few ideas from the famous Ribfest, such as the recycling centres for garbage, engaging the efforts of County Dufferin Waste Management. They did a brilliant job and with the volunteer efforts of the Orangeville Americans GMTL hockey players, we made a difference to the amount of recycling.

I have already started planning for next year and can hardly wait. I hope we`ll see you all at the Fair!

About the Author More by Christine Thomas

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