Farmers Forum staff
OTTAWA — Re-emerging from a three-year hiatus, the Ottawa Valley Farm Show returns this month to the EY Centre, next to Ottawa’s international airport.
The March 14-16 event has lined up about 365 exhibitors, a number “right on track with other years,” farm show coordinator Arlene Ross said.
The last annual showcase was in March 2019. Pandemic restrictions and uncertainty prevented the Show’s return until this year.
“Everybody is so excited,” Ross said. “We have a full house again. We’ve had a lot of phone calls from people wanting to make sure it’s really happening.”
The event typically draws more than 12,000 people. Tickets are available now for $12 online — link on farm show website— or $15 at the door. No charge for children under 13 and parking is free.
The show includes the regional seed, feed and forage competition winners displayed in the Ottawa Valley Seed Growers Association flagship booth. Traditionally, trophies and awards were handed out during a show ceremony, but the pandemic has created a new tradition: The winners will be recognized during an off-site gala dinner — scheduled for March 25 in North Gower.
Check out antique and historical displays, including — special this year — a display on the Eastern Ontario members of the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Ross also reports more food options than ever. In addition to Fat Les’s chip truck outside and a pair of regular concessionaires inside the EY Centre, organizers have set up two new coffee stands, a grilled cheese kiosk, a Kawartha Lakes ice cream booth and a dining lounge serving hot meals all hours of the show. Liquid samples will be offered by Eastern Ontario’s Vodkow (Dairy Distillery), Farmgate Cider and Dunrobin Distillery.
Another highlight is the Prestigious Pedigreed Seed Auction that starts at 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 16. The annual fundraiser has raised $219,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Among other items, the auction always features a locally painted artwork donated by the Secan seed company. Organizers have commissioned Bonnie McQuillan of Ottawa to paint a reproduction of a winning photo in the show’s photo contest, for this year’s auction block.