Owen Sound ag society bringing back barn dance and barbecue

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The Owen Sound Agricultural Society is chomping at the bit to swing open the barn doors and welcome the public in for a good old barn dance.

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After two years of having to cancel their annual dance because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ag society is once again holding the event at Victoria Park on May 28.

Ag society President Hiliary Breadner said the organization decided they wanted to try to do the barn dance again after a couple of years off to try to raise some much-needed funds for upkeep of their facilities at the park. So they had discussions with the city and the health unit, and it was decided the event could go ahead this year.

“Everyone really enjoys the dance, and I believe this would be the eighth barn dance that we are holding,” Breadner said Sunday. “It has just really become one of those things where, previously to COVID, it was kind of the highlight of the spring for a lot of people.”

In 2020 and 2021, the ag society chose to hold spring drive thru barbecues, but cancelled the dance due to COVID-19 restrictions that were in place. They will once again be holding the barbecue in drive-thru format from 5 to 7 p.m., with the dance, featuring the music of The Little White Lies, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Breadner said they have found that the drive-thru model for the barbecue has been very efficient with being able to feed more people in a shorter period of time, so they have decided to stick with that model for now.

Tickets for the barbecue are $20 each and can be purchased in advance with cash at Bayshore Country Feeds in Owen Sound, Huron Tractor in Chatsworth or from any fair board director.

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The meal, which will once again be catered by Cardiff BBQ Catering with the help of ag society volunteers, includes barbecue pork, a baked potato with all the fixings, veggies, salad and a locally made butter tart for dessert. The drive-thru is held at the barn prior to the dance.

For the dance, tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door and can also be purchased with cash at Bayshore Country Feeds, Huron Tractor or from fair board members. The dance is an age of majority event and capacity is capped at 500, so people are advised to get their tickets in advance.

Proceeds from the events will go towards upgrades and renovations to the grandstand at Victoria Park, which the ag society owns along with the barn there.

As for the fall fair, Breadner said the ag society has been diligently working through what that event will include this year. She said there have been a lot of changes over the last two of the pandemic that they have had to navigate.

Last year, organizers were unable to pull off the traditional fall fair due to the restrictions and uncertainty of the pandemic, but they did hold some events, including an antique tractor pull and regional 4-H shows. There was also a virtual fair, with six of the traditional judged classes, including both adult and child colouring contests, child and adult photography divisions, and both a cake-decorating and flower-themed photo submission class.

The last two years, the ag society has held a drive-thru beef barbecue in the fall as well.

“We are going to reimagine the fair in a lot of aspects,” Breadner said, adding that more details will be provided as the event draws closer.

“There is going to be a fair, it is just going to look a little different than it has in the past.”

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