March 16, 2016

Perfect weather, high spirits and new incentives combined to make the 89th Ottawa Valley Farm Show March 810 a huge success for exhibitors and visitors alike. “The conditions were excellent,” said Cecil Cass, president of the Ottawa Valley Seed Growers which sponsor the show held at Ottawa’s EY Centre. “I detected a great mood as I walked through the show; you could tell everyone is looking forward to a new growing season.”

In addition to 340 commercial exhibitors offering everything from the latest in machinery to seed, feed and financial services, the show was rounded out with popular antique, quilt and 4-H displays, along with receptions, meetings and seminars. Three corporate mascots helped entertain young children at the show. Every day at 12 noon at their booth, the Seed Growers hosted a different special event including the Official Opening with an emphasis on farm safety, the Seed Awards, and the Prestigious Pedigreed Seed Sale for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Some 11,330 visitors and exhibitors participated in the three-day show; paid attendance was up by close to 400 compared to 2015. For the first time in 2016, children under 12 who enter free were tracked; about 580 attended even though the show was the week before March Break. Several buses were welcomed at the farm show this year, most of them high school and college students who entered for a bulk rate of $6 per person compared to the single admission fee of $10.

One of the attractions for visitors was free parking offered for the first time, compliments of the Seed Growers. Free WiFi throughout the building was also provided. In the past, EY management collected daily parking fees; the process caused traffic chaos at the end of each day. With the parking lot gates lifted for the show, entry and exiting went much smoother.

“It was our way of giving back to visitors and exhibitors,” Cass observed, noting many positive comments were received about the new parking arrangement. “In many cases, farm families have been attending for generations. Some of our exhibitors have been coming for 40 years. I’d like to thank them publicly for their ongoing support.”

Visitors are invited to participate in an ongoing survey of their impressions of the show through the link https://goo.gl/uyfLAv.

Many organizations benefitted from the 2016 show, including CHEO which will receive $11,400 in Seed Sale proceeds; the total amount earned for CHEO over 25 years stands at $130,000.

Vintage Iron & Traditions of Eastern Ontario launched a first annual sale of toy tractors this year, with a Farmall 460 as the featured model; a full-sized 460 parked in the EY Centre lobby helped draw attention to the event which sold out in an hour. Donated to the Seed Sale, Number One in the series earned $4,000 from collector George Tackaberry (George Tackaberry & Sons, Athens).

Also gaining from the sale was the Canadian Foodgrains Bank which got about 15 bags of seed purchased by exhibitors to support CHEO and then donated to the bank. New Foodgrains representative at the show David Epp was pleasantly surprised by the generosity.

With the 89th edition come and gone, planning has already begun for next year’s milestone 90th anniversary edition of the Ottawa Valley Farm Show.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Tom Van Dusen, GM, 613-445-3407.


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