While the exhibition has had an agriculture renaissance in recent years, the event is about much more than farming. The Ex begins Sunday in Oxford.
OXFORD – As it has for 96 years, the Cumberland County Exhibition will bring people together from one end of the county to the other.
“Things are coming together nicely and we’ll be ready to go,” Andy Carter said. “It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again, the time sure flies by. It just seemed like a couple of weeks ago that we were wrapping up last year’s exhibition.
The festival begins on Sunday with an evening of music featuring the Patriquin Family and Friends gospel concert and continued daily until Saturday with the street parade honouring first responders, the professional woodsman competition and Dick’s Jamboree.
Carter said the exhibition has been gaining momentum in recent years after a series of tough years in which concerns were expressed about its future. He said crowds started to rebound two or three years ago and have been holding steady since then.
“The biggest issue we have is something we have no control over and that’s the weather,” Carter said. “The last two years we’ve had issues with rain during the week and it affected our crowds.”
Carter said with the exception of the carnival rides, most of the events are inside the Oxford Lions Arena and the multi-purpose building. He said the displays in the multi-purpose building have been very success and he credits the people who go above and beyond every year with their displays and other events.
A number of popular events are returning this year including the rodeo competition and the Farmer Olympics on Thursday. He said one of the most popular events coming back from last year is the woodsmen event on Saturday.
“These guys are professionals who do a circuit throughout the Maritimes,” Carter said. “Scott Reid from Leicester is one of the competitors and he’s a Canadian champion in one of the events. We took a chance last year by including the woodsman competition because we really didn’t know how it would turn out, but it has a huge success and we’re happy to have them back this year.”
Also back is the tug of war competitions, along with a number of 4-H events as well as showmanship and conformation classes in beef, dairy, goat, sheep, horse, rabbit, poultry and waterfowl.
Another popular events is the horse shows on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday that include horses large and small as well as equitation, pleasure riding and pole bending.
Carter said one of the more popular things about the exhibition has been the entertainment. Among those performing this year are fiddling legends Ivan and Vivian Hicks and Friends on Tuesday, Paul Randy Mingo on Thursday, Earl Mattinson and Friends on Saturday and Al Bernard on Saturday.
“There’s really something for everyone,” Carter said. “We’re really getting back to our agriculture roots, but the exhibition is much more than agriculture.”
Something new this year will be guided tours of the grounds that will take the participants into the barns to show them how the farming industry works.
The parade and blueberry bakeoff on Saturday are taking a different theme this year in that they will both honour first responders and emergency services personnel. Carter said Rouie Rushton has been organizing the parade that will pay tribute to police, fire and EHS paramedics.
The blueberry bakeoff will feature emergency personnel competing against each other. In previous years local celebrities would go head to head to make a blueberry recipie, often with hilarious antics.
For a complete schedule, or more information, go to http://cumberlandcountyexhibition.canadianwebs.com/schedule.html .