Even without the fair, Richmond Agricultural Society has successful 2020

Dale Greene first inductee into RAS Hall of Fame, Rob Parks to return as RAS President

By Jeff Morris

Manotick Messenger

There was an air of optimism as the Richmond Agricultural Society held its Annual General Meeting via video conference Tues., Jan. 19.

Close to 60 RAS board members and local residents from South Carleton’s agricultural community took part in the meeting.

Outgoing Richmond Fair General Manager Dale Greene was honoured by being named the first inductee into the Richmond Agricultural Society Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was established in 2020, and an induction ceremony for Greene will be held at the 2021 Richmond Fair. The announcement was made by RAS President Rob Parks and Greene’s replacement as the new General Manager, Denise Crawford.

Dale Greene was honoured by the Richmond Agricultural Society for his 25 years of service. He will be the first inductee into the RAS Hall of Fame. (Jeff Morris photo/Manotick Messenger)

Greene was also presented with gifts and a video tribute from the RAS and its members. Among the gifts were a framed print of a painting from the 175th Richmond Fair and a framed picture thanking him for 25 years of dedicated service to the RAS.

Parks said there was a lot of momentum heading into 2020, as the 175th Richmond Fair in the fall of 2019 was a big success.

“We ended the year on a high and we had lots of plans moving forward for the 176th,” Parks said. “We started planning our St. Patrick’s Day party, but that never materialized as our little friend showed up named COVID. We didn’t think it was going to stick around and it’s still sticking around right now.”

Parks said the board began having Webex meetings immediately, and added that they are one of the few rural fairs in the region that is still having meetings and moving forward.

RAS Treasurer Christa Bingley delivered surprisingly positive news, saying they are sitting in a “very strong position” despite the impacts of COVID-19 and the cancellation of the Richmond Fair.

“Normally at year end, we start comparing this year to last year,” Bingley said. “There’s not a whole lot that’s same from 2019 to 2020.”

Bingley said the RAS actually increased its net assets in 2020 as compared to 2019. Both the revenues and expenditures of the organization were about half of what they were the previous year. There were no revenues from the Richmond Fair as it was cancelled, and revenue from grants and donations was significantly down in 2020.

There was an increase in the “other revenue” column, which Bingley contributed to the Brett Kissel concert at the Richmond Fairgrounds in September, and from Cafe 50-50 and the Catch the Ace and proceeds from additional raffles and lotteries. Kissel played three drive-up concerts in one day Sept. 19, with revenues totalling $115,000 against $89,000 in expenses.

“While not for profit organizations have struggled for the past year, Richmond Agricultural Society has very strong working capital,” she said. “While many are fearing how they will fair at the end of all of this, (the RAS) is not one of them.”

Parks also offered praise and thanks for the team of people that made the Brett Kissel concert a reality.

“Everybody who partook in that event was amazed how well it went,” Parks said. “That was a pretty special event for everybody that was trapped in this whole COVID thing. People were actually able to get out of their house and stay in their car, of course, and bring their family to one of the three concerts. It was really well done.”

Brett Kissel, left, plays during his first of three concerts at the Richmond Fairgrounds Sept. 19, 2020. With him is guitar player Connor Riddell, right, who first played with Kissel as a 15-year-old from Carleton Place visiting the Richmond Fair. (Ben Dartnell photo)

The RAS Board of Directors was elected for the next year. Parks will return as the President by acclamation, while Bruce Bain was acclaimed as First Vice-President. Andre Messier was elected as the Second Vice-President.

The directors entering the second year of their two-year terms are Jordan Alma, Steve Blackburn, Laura Boyd, Gavin Grusnick, Mikhaila Kavanagh, Chris Lawton, Jason Manion, Joshua Perkins, Dave Seabrook, Doug Seabrook, Margaret Todd and Rick Todd.

Also elected to the Board of Directors were Bruce Bain, Cindy Brown, Johanna Kavanagh, Duncan MacGibbon, Andre Messier, Nigel Moorcroft, Rob Parks, David Rea, Michelle Roger and Kenny Stuyt.

Elected as Junior Directors were Aida Attar, Stephanie Denofrio-Findlay, Adriana Kavanagh, Kristen Kelly, Megan Lennstrom, David McConnell, Hannah Sample, Tyler Sparling, Braden Stuyt and Curtis Stuyt.

The dates for the 176th Richmond Fair were also announced. The RAS has scheduled this year’s event for Sept. 16-19.