2020 Richmond Fair cancelled because of COVID-19 pandemic

The 176th Richmond Fair has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The Richmond Agricultural Society, who had been planning for the fair for the past year, joined the list of rural Ottawa fairs to pull the plug on the fall event.

“The Richmond Fair is an important part of our community, which has brought families and friends together for the past 175 years”, said Dale Greene, the Fair’s outgoing General Manager. “It’s unfortunate it won’t be happening as usual this year.”

The RAS determined that COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work and engage with our community. As much as the Richmond Agricultural Society would very much prefer to host the Fair from September 17th to 20th it cannot. The Board of Directors has made the decision to pause the celebration until COVID-19 has passed and we can gather again.

“We would like to thank everyone from our members, volunteers, sponsors, donors, exhibitors, service providers and our elected officials for all that they do. It takes a great community to pull any event together, let alone an annual event that is older than Canada and the oldest Fair in Ottawa,” said Rob Parks, Richmond Agricultural Society President.

Denise Crawford, a long-time Fair volunteer and the incoming General Manager who will take over for Mr. Greene stated, “Although we won’t be hosting the Fair our community has come to expect, the Board and its volunteers will monitor the COVID-19 situation over the summer with the hopes of hosting a “Richmond Fair Day”  in September or another smaller event if it is safe to do so.”

The Richmond Fair would have celebrated its 176th edition this year. Horse, cattle and sheep shows have long been an important part of a rural community and the Fair, in addition to Homecraft displays of baking, home-grown vegetables and handicrafts displayed each year in the Homecraft building.

As people become farther removed from the land, it is important to show our community what an important part agriculture and the rural way of life plays in our lives.

David Brown, the Past-President of the Richmond Ag Society said, “It is estimated that for every $1 earned by a Fair or Exhibition, $4.54 is put back into the community. At a time when small business are struggling, this will hit many of the small local family owned businesses that provide services and supplies for the Richmond Fair”.

At the City’s virtual Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee meeting Thursday, the Rural Affairs Office announced it would provide $15,000 to each of the agriculture committees operating the local fairs. The money would come from the Rural Affairs Office Budget. The funds would help the various agricultural committees to fund programming that runs throughout the years and is funded by revenue from the fairs.

“The money raised at these fairs is re-invested into the community,” said Geraldine Wildman of Ottawa’s Rural Affairs office. “The cancellation of these fairs will have an impact on rural communities.”

Wildman said that last year’s Richmond Fair drew 45,000 people and visitors spent $4 million over four days. She added that people throughout the region look forward to the fairs and are a highlight of the year.

Each year, the Richmond Fair runs the third weekend in September.

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