MURILLO, Ont. – It wouldn’t be summer in the country without the Murillo Fair.
The two-day rural fair, which is hosted by the Oliver Agricultural Society, has become so ingrained into the fabric of the community it’s difficult to put its significance into words.
“I’ve just always come. It’s what you do on fair weekend,” associate director Sue-Ellen Blekkenhorst said.
The 123rd edition of the fair, which is one of the oldest and most recognizable country fairs in the region, opened on Saturday under cool and cloudy skies at the Murillo Fairgrounds.
Last year’s fair attracted close to 5,000 people, a number which Blekkenhorst is hoping to improve upon this year.
Organizers moved this year’s version of the fair ahead one weekend, hoping to avoid conflict with other events around the city later in the month as summer holidays wind down.
One of the hallmarks of the Murillo Fair is that it places the vast majority of its emphasis on the agricultural component.
Rather than a midway, the primary attraction of the fair is the ranch rodeo, which features teams of participants performing tasks in the ring similar to what would be done on a farm, such as herding cows.
“The highlight is the rodeo, which goes both days, and is sanctioned by the Manitoba Ranch Rodeo Association,” Blekkenhorst said.
Other rodeo activities include chariot races and there are horse events such as gymkhana.
In addition, there is a petting zoo and opportunities for children to meet some of the more docile horses.
Organizers have said there will be more food vendors at the site than last year, as well as 10 live entertainment acts throughout the weekend.
The fair will conclude on Sunday.
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