By Connor Lynch
OTTAWA — In its heyday in the 70s the Ottawa Super Ex was the premier agricultural show in the area, and an Ottawa-area fair board is on a five-year mission to recreate that show.
The Capital Fair, formerly the Gloucester Fair, wants to recreate some of the Cattle Castle attractions (which included line shows of cattle, horses, sheep and breed displays), but wants input from farmers on what else they can do to attract rural folk.
“We want to reach out to the farming community, get people with knowledge involved,” said Harley Bloom, general manager of the Capital Fair.
But he wants to draw out the urban crowd as well, and show urbanites that “meat doesn’t come from a counter,” said Bloom.
The previous timing of the Capital Fair didn’t work out for agricultural shows, as the fair was held on the last four days of May. Now, the fair has a new time slot, running from Aug. 19 to 28, and its location at the Rideau-Carleton Raceway, at the south end of urban Ottawa, doesn’t hurt either.
“It was a little hard to bring animals into the city,” said Bloom. The Super Ex used to bring in livestock for competitions at Lansdowne Park and keep them on the fairgrounds, which gradually became more and more difficult. After a while “you had to bring animals in at around one in the morning,” said Bloom.
With the demise of the Super Ex, Bloom believes there is a niche to be filled in a regional ag show. “Right now everyone has their community fair, and that’s great. The other fairs do a marvelous job, but we want to bring it all together in one show.”
Last year the Capital Fair attracted about 125,000 people over 10 days, and Bloom is expecting this year to be strong as well, so long as the weather holds out.
The fair will feature a variety of concessions, the midway, monster trucks, and western horse racing.
The fair has been at the raceway for the last two years.
Submit suggestions by email to email@example.com or call Harley Bloom at 613-741-3247. You can meet Bloom at the Ottawa Valley Farm Show March 8 to 10.