Ex-cellent Ex

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PICTOU — It was a special time for the Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition.

The 2018 edition wrapped up on Sunday with large crowds daily for the event since it opened last Wednesday with 4-H Day.

Touring the new 4-H Legends Building, viewing the 4-H exhibits and enjoying the refreshments offered by volunteers in the kitchen was a highlight for patrons this year.

Long-time exhibition volunteer Betty Lou Scott said crowds were exceptional, especially around the Legends Building, where certain food items like hamburgers were in high demand.

“I think it was great, huge crowds,” Scott said.

Besides 4-H day, the official opening allowed specials guests to share their thoughts about this year’s exhibition.

“This is a really important event for our rural areas and our towns,” Warden Robert Parker said. “We have to be careful to maintain a good agricultural industry, but I have great hope when I see more young people in agriculture.”

Taylor Carree said she was encouraged to see the return of the exhibition’s Queen Pageant for the first time since she was crowned in 2010.

“It’s been quite a journey,” she said. “I’m here to pass on my robe to the next queen.”

The opening ceremonies were also an opportunity to pay tribute to Pat Christensen, who was the Municipality of Pictou County’s 2018 representative to the annual volunteer luncheon that the province hosts each spring.

Christensen is also a long-time volunteer at the exhibition, including her part as a member of the Women’s Institute that hosts the annual food and craft exhibits. She recalled her involvement in 4-H when she was raising her children before her other exhibition volunteering.

“This year has been rather overwhelming,” said Christensen, who shared with the audience how her mother got her volunteering in the community at an early age. “When I was three, my mother took me everywhere … being a volunteer means you are never alone.”

Tug-of-war competitions that ended on Saturday proved to be a hit once again.

Pictous men’s team placed third after taking more than nine minutes to defeat Stewiacke. The teams previously met on Friday when Stewiacke prevailed in extra time. The teams pull for up to 15 minutes, but Stewiacke outlasted Pictou in 17 minutes.

Organizers were happy to have the Queen Pageant and look forward to its resumption next year.

“I’m very pleased,” Sara Burton said. “I was very blessed with a great group of girls and we had excellent judges.”

Newly crowned Queen Bianca Bourgeois said she enjoyed the experience.

“I was Little Queen more than 10 years ago,” she recalled. “The highlight for me was making new friends and being able to express myself. It was pretty nice.”

Helen Robinson, who organized the pageant for years and helped out this year, also enjoyed the event.

“I thought it was excellent,” she said. “I hope we have it next year. The pageant is a big crowd-pleaser.”

Exhibition society president Jack Ferguson said the event turned out well.

“The weather was in our favour,” he said. “I hope people were satisfied with what we put on for them.”

Horse competitions were also saluted.

“We had a good turnout,” Jolene Shaw said. “The barns were full of horses.”

The exhibition included an indelible connection to Lloyd Langille by hosting the Maritime Four-Horse Classic Series Championship that reflected his passion for horsemanship.

His wife Marlene was event announcer on Sunday. Entries were from all three Maritime Provinces and included the Leonard and Donna Fraser’s entry from Milbrook.

Linden Vanderiet grimaces during her team’s tug-of-war at the Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition last weekend.  (Goodwin photo)