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Murillo Fair still celebrating agricultural life 128 years later (20 photos)

The 128th Murillo Fair wrapped up another successful year and even the rain on Sunday couldn't dampen the spirits of horse riders

THUNDER BAY - While most of the weekend offered a lot of sunshine and warm temperatures for fair goers out in Murillo, the wet and grey morning to close it out on Sunday was welcomed by horse riders.

“Actually, if anything the rain is making it better,” said Alexa Desjardins, who was participating in various gymkhana events this weekend. “It was so dry and dusty and we haven’t had rain in so long so the ground gets a little loose, so when it rains like this, it’s more sticky. When you have your fast horses going, it’s easier to stick around the turns.”

The Murillo Fair wrapped up its 128th year at the Murillo Fair Grounds on Sunday. After opening on Friday evening, the three-day fair brought in people of all ages to get a glimpse into the agricultural heritage of the community.

“It’s nice for people to come out and have some nice green space,” said Bailey Rea, president of the Oliver Agricultural Society. “A lot of people aren’t aware of all the things going on in the community. You can see there are chickens laying eggs, there are people who are roping and working in a rodeo, and see the vegetables people grow.”

The fair had a variety of attractions for people and families to enjoy, from midway rides, to vegetable and livestock contests, crafts, food, and lawnmower races.

“It was fabulous,” Rea said. “We had a great turn out yesterday, every thing went really well, we had great weather, everyone was happy and we had a great day.”

“We are looking forward to doing the lawn tractor racing again and making a few changes to that and getting some new tractors again,” Rea continued. “And everything will start getting planned next week for next year.”

But some of the more popular events at the fair continue to be the horse races and rodeo, which highlight the rural heritage of the community.

Riders of all ages and skill levels participated in events throughout the weekend like the cowboy challenge, barrel races, a flag race, and cattle roping.

Desjardins, who has been riding since she was seven-years-old, said the weather on Sunday really helped her and her horse, Jango, put up some good times.

“I’ve done better, but you can’t complain with everything going on,” she said. “He’s young so this is not anything normal for him at all.”

But for Desjardins and other riders, the Murillo Fair has become an important staple for the horse community, because it not only showcases the lifestyle of rural communities, but also brings people together.

“It feels like people are not really aware of good old fashioned agriculture nowadays,” she said. “It’s nice to have the fair like this because it attracts people to come out and see it. It’s great to have events like the ranch rodeo because everything that happens in the ranch rodeo is what you do on a farm. It’s not your typical rodeo.”

“Thunder Bay has a really big horse community, but not as many people come out,” she continued. “So it’s great to have big events like this because it kind of gets people wanting to come out more.”

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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