Plans for second drive-thru Picton Fair going ahead

Cows at the 2020 Picton Drive-Thru Festival. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette staff)




Community members can enjoy all that the Picton Fair has to offer at the second Drive Thru event this fall.

Tina Hiddink, Secretary and Treasurer of the Prince Edward Agricultural Society (PEAS) presented the successes and learning lessons of the weekend fair that took place at the Picton Fairgrounds last October at Tuesday’s regular council meeting.

In light of events cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic she said the fair board members wanted to ensure an event of some kind could take place.

“We had the full support of the board to do a drive thru that would meet all the criteria under the health guidelines,” she said.

Councillor Kate MacNaughton. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Hiddink said the traffic flow went well, with over 1,000 cars travelling through the fairgrounds between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., totalling over 3,000 individuals.

Coun. Kate MacNaughton asked how those without a vehicle could participate in the fair events. 

Hiddink said that unfortunately due to pandemic safety guidelines, it is hard to say what the restriction levels may be in August but that it had been a main discussion point last year during planning.

The fair board members debated partnering with local taxi or bus companies to transport individuals through the fair, but that it would still depend heavily on restrictions.

The event featured a youth colouring contest, classic fair food options and entertainment. However, Hiddink said she was disappointed in the amount of displays

“We really wanted community involvement and because so many events were cancelled we reached out to organizations,” she said. “People could not really grasp what we were doing.”

She said thanks to the number of volunteers and community engagement, it was an overall success. 

“As a result, a weekend or two after our event, if you went to municipal newspapers around Ontario, they promoted our drive thru. We had articles in the Ontario Farmer. The Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) asked us to do this presentation to the Ontario Fairs and Exhibitions. So, we may be small, but we are mighty!” Hiddink said.

The fair was held by donation, at zero cost to attendees, and raised $5,000. The donations were split between the ‘Back The Build’ campaign for the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation (PECMHF) as well as the Picton and Wellington food banks.

This year, Hiddink said there will be a virtual beef show taking place Aug. 27 and Aug. 28 involving the local 4H club. 

“We hope for positive commitments by local organizations to make this even bigger and better,” she said.