The Fair that brings Binbrook together

BY ALIZA LATTA

The 2017 Binbrook Fair ran over the course of three days, from Sept. 15 to Sept. 17, and was one large celebration, commemorating community and hometown memories.

One hundred and sixty-three years. Three hundred and twenty-six demolition derbies. Innumerable bags of popcorn, sticks of cotton candy, deep-fried onions, and cups of hand-squeezed lemonade.

Biczel had a popular booth and handed out 22 different kinds of fudge. (Photo by Aliza Latta/Sheridan Sun)

Three cows (including one calf), one pig, two alpaca, 55 vendors, over 350 volunteers, and an estimate of 23,000 attendees.

“We’ve been a vendor at the fair for 50 years,” Julie Biczel said. Her brother-in-law owns Maple Leaf Fudge. At her booth, there were 22 different kinds of fudge for people to choose from, from Maple Plain to Reese’s peanut butter.

“It’s my 29th or 30th year here myself,” Biczel said. “I’m known as the Fudge Lady on the circuit.”

Biczel’s favourite part of the fair is interacting with the people. After being in the same spot for 30 years, she’s gotten to know a few of the fair-goers. “I see the same faces year after year,” Bizcel said. “[Next year] I’ll be right here in this spot.”

Biczel proudly displayed her Maple Leaf Fudge. (Photo by Aliza Latta/Sheridan Sun)

The 163 annual Binbrook Fair had people coming and going all weekend. Chad Roberts, the current president of the Binbrook Fair, said, “The core things of the fair are the same, but some things have evolved. But our favourites – the derby, the livestock shows – those all stay the same.”

The Binbrook community has exploded in number over the past ten years. According to Statistics Canada, in the past five years, over 5000 people have moved to Binbrook, with more continually coming.

“The heart of Binbrook Fair is the traditions,” said Roberts, who was born and raised in Binbrook and has volunteered at the fair for 15 years. “But it’s more than that – it’s [about] the community, both new and old.”

Like Biczel and Roberts, there are many vendors and attendees who have been coming to the fair for decades. But not all have been born and raised in Binbrook.

Janelle Miles lives in Binbrook with her husband Neil and their almost three-year-old son, Liam. “I’ve lived here six years, and Neil’s lived here since we got married four years ago,” Miles said.

“It was our third year taking Liam to the fair but it was the first year he could look forward to it and enjoy seeing the animals,” Miles said. “It’s something we hope to do as a tradition with our family.”

Aliza Latta
About Aliza Latta 4 Articles
Aliza Latta is a twenty-something Canadian novelist, journalist, and artist who is a huge fan of telling stories—whether through speech, written prose, or art. Her love is divided between fiction, Africa, and journalism, and someday hopes to combine all three. Find her on Twitter or Instagram as @alizalatta.

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