Fall is fleeting. Figures it’s my favourite season. Cool, crisp and country – country fairs that is and every year I attend one (or two) in Southern Ontario because, let’s face it, they’re very similar… except for the horses. Clearly, country fair and horse show combos are the way to go.
I figured if I was gioing to attend one in Canada, why not make it the world’s largest? The Rockton World’s Fair in small town Rockton, Ontario. The claim of size and status is rarely challenged – maybe because it’s a charming idea or maybe because the event has called itself a ‘world’s fair’ for 162 years.
Either way, it’s big. And popular.
I was there the Sunday of (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend just in time for the amateur equestrian jumping event. So, guess where I spent the first hour of my day, armed with a camera and an obligatory carton of poutine (fries, gravy and cheese), which I once swore I wouldn’t touch?
The jumping course, in my view, was challenging for the advanced/intermediate class with jumps less than 2 metres high and tight turns that made the course a bit harrowing (maybe too much for non-pros). A clean ride under time led to an immediate jump off round and surprisingly about half the horse and riders qualified for the back-to-back run.
Bright sunlight and high-in-the-sky oscillating midway rides posed distracting and even unnerving to almost all mounts. Yet, the dedication and focus of these love-of-the sport riders was impressive, making for edge-of-the-seat viewing and an appreciation for the almost daily training it takes to get this far.
Here are some photos to prove it. Unfortunately, no list or program was available to identify the riders and horses, who registered at the door when they arrived at the Rockton World’s [Greatest] Fair … and [awesome] equine event.
TRAVEL GUIDE: The Rockton Agricultural Society hosts the 163rd Rockton World’s Fair Oct. 9 to 12, 2016 with demolition derbies, midway, 4-H club animal judging events, horse shows, pie-eating contest, pet show and helicopter rides. The event is dog-friendly (on a leash) but dogs aren’t allowed in many buildings.
Hours are Friday 2 to 10:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Monday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission $13, $5 for children six to 15, children five and under are free. Adult weekend pass is $40, youth pass is $10 and family rate on Sunday is $30 for two adults and up to four children.
The fair is in Rockton, Ontario (Flambourough) near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.