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A winter wonderland in August

Agricultural society set to hold annual flagship event

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Val Johnson, a longtime member of the St. Vital Agricultural Society, in her backyard.

PHOTO BY SIMON FULLER Enlarge Image

Val Johnson, a longtime member of the St. Vital Agricultural Society, in her backyard. Photo Store

It’s not every day that you find a winter wonderland in the middle of summer.

But that’s the intention of the St. Vital Agricultural Society, which will hold its long-running annual display and fair on Weds., Aug. 14 and Thurs., 15 at St. Vital Centennial Arena, located at 580 St. Anne’s Rd.

The event will feature judged competitions in areas such as vegetables, flower arranging, painting, photography, baking and handicrafts, including crocheting, knitting and sewing. There will be categories for all age groups, including juniors (16 and under), adults and seniors (65 and up). Entrants don’t have to live in the St. Vital area.

Entrants can enter their submissions for judging on Tues., Aug 13 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., when items will be tagged and entry fees paid. You must be a member of the society to enter any of the categories and membership can be acquired on this night, if required.

The event will also include agricultural-based displays and historical displays relevant to St. Vital. There will be a display from the Manitoba Orchid Society and on Aug. 14, between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m., there will be a pork barbecue (costing $5) and entertainment provided by Fire and Ice, the singing duo of Bran Solo and Sandra Therien.

Val Johnson, a past president and active member of the society for more than 30 years, said the event is an opportunity for individuals to showcase their talents and exchange ideas and information, as well as continuing the tradition of coming together as a community to share their accomplishments with family and friends.

"It gives people the chance to showcase their crafts, or whatever their talent is, whether it is vegetable gardening or cut flowering arranging," said Johnson, who lives in St. Vital, noting the baking category features delights such as snowflake cookies and cranberry pistachio blondies, where entrants must follow a provided recipe. "The key is they have to have to have grown or created it themselves."

On a personal level, Johnson said the event has helped her nurture and expand her creative mind. She had been involved in the area of flower arranging for many years before switching her focus to photography.

"I like the competition and I like to try and learn different things," she said, noting that themes in past years have included "Manitoba memories, going tropical and the fabulous ’50s."

Karen Jack, the society’s president and longtime member, said the fair maintains the traditions of the society, which was formed in 1909 when the Manitoba government wanted to promote agriculture and horticulture and encourage farmers and market gardeners to use better production methods.

"I think it’s a matter of maintaining traditions started in St. Vital and bringing them into a modern-day context with a traditional backdrop," said Jack, who lives in River Park South.

"We have quite a few different groups taking part, as we have grandparents, parents and kids now entering the competitions. It’s an important part of everyday life and people get to showcase their talents and have a wonderful time."

Admission to the fair is $2 for adults and free for youth aged 16 and under when accompanied by an adult.

For more information, including an event schedule and detailed submission information, visit www.svas.ca or call Brenda at 204-257-6372.

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Twitter: @lanceWPG

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