Lindsay Exhibition & Horse Show Re-visited
by Festival Nomad Correspondent, Kevin Stuart
One word that often comes to mind when speaking of fall fairs is tradition. Another might be heritage. Both would apply to the Lindsay Exhibition, also known as the LEX. Of course, over the years the fair has evolved and grown as evidenced in 2007 when the fairgrounds moved to its current location in the city’s south end. Its expanded location has allowed it to become one of the bigger fairs in central Ontario, stretching over five days. In fact, it is now the largest five-day fair in Ontario. Over 300 volunteers from 30 committees work together to stage the annual event.
The theme for the 2012 edition also appeared to carry a message: Let kids be kids. Don’t be a bully. It is very much a family-oriented event as evidenced by the multitudes of families in attendance although, of course, there is something for everyone.
Getting to Know...
A good way to get one’s overall bearings is to take one of the horse-drawn wagon rides that move all day throughout the fairgrounds, particularly helpful should you find your feet feeling a bit weary.
Among our first stops was the main Lindsay Exhibition building, home to the food booths, various exhibits and displays. Some may have been put off a bit, but we couldn’t help but look at the full pig and sheep in the farmer’s freezer, reminding us of just how much processing much of our food undergoes between the farm and our dinner table. Also in the display case were the butter sculptures provided by local producers. Still with the dairy theme, many kids were eager to try “milking” the porcelain cow standing proudly. There was a bit of water battling with some of the kids but at least parents didn’t have to worry about any retaliation from Bessie.
Public service booths were also present where even kids can gain some hands on experience in applying CPR. My son was rather intrigued and did his best to follow the instructions since, for the lay person, only the chest compressions are to be used, keeping it simple. He was also amused with what they called “Cash Crap”, showing how manure can be transferred into a clean energy source.
The Kid's Zone
A new feature added in 2012 to the Lindsay Exhibition came from Kidomo Live Shows offering the younger set and their parents a unique opportunity to see some of their favourite television characters and live musical performances. Among the characters we encountered were My Little Pony, Barney, Angelina Ballerina, Chuck the Dump Truck, and the hit of our group, SpongeBob. These were all under the Kid Zone tent which gives children the chance to play and create during and after the live shows.
Just outside the tent was the NERF zone, where young sharpshooters tried their hand at shooting those spongy bullets for target practice. To keep an agricultural aspect, they shot from behind hay bales.
Lots of Fun...
For a thrilling ride, one of the highlights offered at this year’s fair were monster truck rides. This purple truck, weighing 10,000 pounds and fitted with seats in the back, provided a thrill for all ages. While others rode there I was fortunate enough to sit up front with the driver to get the first view of things. Since there had been some rain earlier in the week, the track was primed and ready (or should I say muddy). Together with twists, turns and some real ups and downs, this one did not disappoint. One thing that did surprise me somewhat was even though a lot of mud gets kicked up, only a small amount seems to actually land on the riders. Certainly a lot of moms would appreciate that.
With an agricultural fair, one always expects to see horses, chickens, cows and pigs but, thanks to the Bowmanville Zoo, we also saw the likes of elephants and zebras. It was a chance to see the Animal Acrobatics show which delighted many. There were a talented “counting” pony, and other impressive animal tricks. After the shows, elephant and camel rides were offered for anyone wanting a mini safari.
RCMP Musical Ride
My wife and I were both keenly anticipating the famous RCMP Musical Ride, another special feature of the 2012 LEX. For Ontarians, this was the year to catch one of the most prestigious events of its kind. The members are made up of police officers who, after at least two years of active work, volunteer for duty with the Musical Ride. This year’s edition featured 32 riders and horses plus the member in charge. The precision movements are all formed through months of training and practice and it showed. The music accompanying the motions varied from traditional to modern, showing their versatility. Following the performance, everyone was invited to stand with the horses and their riders for a unique photo op. Still photos cannot possibly do justice to such an event but we attempted to at least capture some of the majesty of the Musical Ride.
The Last Stop and Then Home...
From there we were off to the midway which is a thrill-seeker’s paradise. The one at the Lindsay Exhibition is laid out so that your favourite ride or game is not hard to find. Of course, due to its popularity, we were subjected to some lengthy lineups, although they tried to move everyone through as smoothly as they could. Although some prefer the wilder rides, my speed is the bumper cars which seem to appeal to all ages. Naturally, there was a wide variety of rides to suit most tastes. We also managed to gain a few “souvenirs” from playing the games.
As daylight gradually faded, we made our way but, from the highway, we glimpse the lights of the fair as they prepared for the big tractor pull event at the grandstand. All in all, a great day that seemed to pass all too quickly. Kudos to all the organizers for their efforts in presenting one of the finest exhibitions of its kind and the perfect bridge from summer to fall.
Lindsay Exhibition & Horse Show
by Festival Nomad "Scoop" Correspondent, Judi McWilliams
Nose to Nose
I couldn’t believe it! There I was standing nose to nose! I could feel a hot breath blowing on my cheek. It was monstrous! It was over 8 feet tall and weighted close to 2000 pounds. I got as close as I could. The Festival nomad insisted that I move as closer as I could. The giant Clydesdale lifted its head, as if knowing that his picture was about to be taken. We were at the Lindsay Exhibition and Horse Show (affectionately know as the LEX). Our Festival Nomad Correspondent, Kevin Stewart, had recommended the exhibition to us. Bev Roy, the Exhibition Manager, had invited us to come. So here we were on another adventure on a glorious sun-filled fall day.
Entering the Grounds
Our first stop as we entered the grounds was the Lindsay Exhibition building. It was filled with interesting goods for sale and award winning agricultural, horticultural and botanical displays. The children of the Lindsay area seem to be full of imagination and talent. We enjoyed viewing their award winning creations. Back out into the bright sunshine we looked around us. Crowds of people were walking in all directions … some to the midway, some to the grandstands and some to the giant cylindrical barns.
We stopped at the Lindsay Exhibition Show Ring which was the first barn. Inside we viewed (up close and personal), the bull calf competition. We arrived just in time for the judging of these “babies”. There were two groups to be judged with the final round of 8 to come. The announcer over the P.A. system had told us that if you were eliminated in the previous rounds you were not told the reason why. The final group “faired” in that the judges explained why the “losers” lost and the “winners” won. I chose what I considered to be the two top “winners”. I was excited when the judge called my choices up first and second. And then, when it was time for the ribbons to be awarded, I discovered that my two choices (no bull), were the last and second last place “losers”! I guess I won’t be invited to judge any time soon. With my head hung low the Festival Nomad and I left the Show Ring and walked through muddy pathways to view the next barn with the heavy horses. This is where I meet my giant friend, the Clydesdale. Going through the barn I felt like I was walking between giants. To say that the horses were magnificent would certainly be an understatement!
Back In The Sun...
Reluctantly, we walked back out into the sunshine again. The next barn reminded me of a series of Watercolour paintings that I had created several years ago. The cows were lying on a bed of straw/hay, side by side. The paintings were from my imagination, but, today it was real. At the Lindsay Exhibition, you can stroll through the barns and be close to all the animals. What was interesting to see was the outdoor “cow shower”. Here, the cows stood patiently while they were scrubbed up with soap and then rinsed off. Their wet coats glistened in the sunshine.
The Midway and The Grandstand...
We decided we would explore the Midway. This is one of the largest Midways we have been to. There were thousands of people lining up to enjoy the rides. The laughter and screams filled the air. Sticky candy and candy apples were tempting, but, we knew we wanted to grab a bite to eat before the feature show in the Grandstands. The competition was about to being. We found great seats to watch the North American Six Horse Classic Series competition. As the team of six entered the grandstand area, the announcer gave us an idea of the expense of this sport. I can’t quote exactly, however, approximately $25,000 per horse, $15-$25,000 for a used wagon, $8-12,000 per harness, $50,000 for a new wagon. … not to mention the cost of the transport truck and trailers, fuel, insurance, feed, accommodations and the announcer said … “we’re not even at the exhibition yet”! These teams were put through their paces under the watchful eyes of the judges. Finally, the judge told each team to line up. He walked around each set and examined them with care. I choose not to judge this time. The winner was acknowledged by an appreciative crowd. In my eyes, all 5 teams were winners. Especially my giant friend, the Clydesdale team.
After saying our goodbyes to our host Bev Roy, we left the Lindsay Exhibition grounds to the laughter of the children being entertained by a show at the Lex Family Pavillion.