PICTOU — In the end, cancelling the 2019 Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition’s Saturday and Sunday events was all officials could do, Jack Ferguson said.
Ferguson, who chairs the exhibition’s board of directors, said it had to close for the safety of people and livestock on the grounds.
“Everyone knew by the time the storm hit what we had to do,” he said. “The first three days went well. Our gate on Friday was down a bit from last years, but it was a record year.”
Ferguson said the exhibition board of directors “greatly appreciated the understanding and co-operation of the sponsors, exhibitors and general public in the cancellation of the exhibition on Saturday and Sunday.
“The call was made over weather conditions and safety of all involved. I believe we made the right call,” he said. “Thank you to our sponsors and exhibitors for your ongoing support and generosity. We are all disappointed that we could not complete our endeavours. We must pull things together and move forward into the future.”
Events Wednesday through Friday proceeded pretty much as scheduled, including 4-H Day that once dominated the Wednesday programming.
Ferguson, Warden Robert Parker and Central Nova MP Sean Fraser were among those who attended the official opening.
“It’s something young people want to do,” Parker said regarding the number of young people wanting to farm for a living. “They are our future in agriculture.”
Fraser pointed to how farming helps sustain rural communities. “A lot of people don’t appreciate the importance of our rural economies,” he said.
Events cancelled on Saturday included the men’s and women’s tug-of-war finals and the queen pageant crowning.
Ferguson said the organizers have arranged to schedule the queen crowning when contestants can attend. That will be Sunday at 2 p.m. at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre. The pageant will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis with an admission of $5.
The Maritime Four Horse Classic Series Championship was among events cancelled on Sunday. It would have been the third straight year it took place in Pictou.
Ferguson said the exhibition’s lost revenues will outweigh expenses saved from cancelling the last two days.
“The financial issue is a big issue,” he said. I don’t know where we will be sitting.”
Cathy Lavers said Pictou County 4-H will re-schedule some of its weekend events that did not take place Saturday at the MacKay barn and 4-H Legacy Building.
“We had three good days, but Saturday and Sunday are typically big days for us,” she said. “The kids are devastated, especially losing the tug-of-war. That’s a big thing for our members.”
From left, Ryker Thibodeau, 9, Trent Brymer, 9, Jillian Vacheresse, 11, and Keaton Thibodeau, 7, have fun checking out the monster truck at the exhibition. (Brimicombe photo)