The 2016 Royal Manitoba Fair wrapped up Saturday night and attendance over the week was up about 8,000 visits from last year.
Over the six days, the fair reported it saw 110,000 visits. Figures I have from the 2015 event pegged that number at 102,000.
Why the increase? Well, the 2015 version suffered from bad weather, it also ended on Easter Weekend and I think perhaps there was some ‘fair fatigue’ from locals who had seen little change in the programming year to year.
But some new blood in the front office, some tinkering to the event line-up and a week of very good spring weather, all added up to impressive crowds each day. I took a walk through the barns late in the week and have included some photos for your enjoyment.
Here’s a statement released from the fair’s GM Saturday night:
“The achievements of the week cannot be contributed to any one event,” said Ron Kristjansson, general manager of the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba. “The exhibitors, the volunteers, the sponsors and the visitors combined with exceptional competitions and an outstanding line up of entertainers all contributed to the success of this year’s event.”
With the steady decline of the family farm, as larger corporate agriculture operations emerge, the fair is also a chance for city folks — not to mention Westman’s influx of immigrants — a chance to get up close and personal with the source of our food.
“The mission of the Provincial Exhibition and all of our events is to educate youth about the importance of agriculture,” Kathy Cleaver, president of the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba, also said in the release following the fair. “The Royal Manitoba Winter Fair gives thousands of kids and families a chance to touch, feel and experience agriculture.
“Our communities are changing and with more families living off the farm, these opportunities are often not available.”
The next event for the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba is the Manitoba Summer Fair, June 8-12, at the Keystone Centre.