by Melissa Workman, 2016-2017 Spencerville Fair Ambassador
On February 15, I had the pleasure of attending the OAAS (Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies) Convention in Toronto held at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, all thanks to the Spencerville Agricultural Society, which I had the honour of representing as the Spencerville Fair Ambassador. The weekend consisted of inspirational speakers, memorable events, and unforgettable friendships. Each one of the 84 Ontario Fair Ambassadors that I had the pleasure of meeting, brightened my day.
There were tons of guest speakers touching on many different but important topics. One speaker really opened the conversation regarding the importance of proper education and the conversation that really needs to start happening between the consumer and the farmer in agriculture, along with how we can start initiating that conversation. It’s amazing how people have no problem complaining about what they don’t completely understand, and offering no constructive criticism. These speakers left me with an open mind and ideas on how I can start building on these relationships and engaging in these conversations, starting with the people I hold close. Something anyone can and should do.
Being able to attend this event was a fantastic opportunity, as I was able to network personal relationships with other ambassadors from other Ontario fairs. Each fair is completely different, and carries a history of individuality, much like the Spencerville Fair. I did notice, while talking with these ambassadors, that their fairs have drifted from the Agricultural roots that they once started from. I must say, I have complete admiration for the Spencerville Agricultural Society, which has been able to celebrate the rural way of life in eastern Ontario while keeping our roots firmly in agricultural for the past 161 years.
It was really impressive leaving this three day event, knowing that, yes, the little village of Spencerville might be just a dot on a map, but the Spencerville Agricultural Society has made us very well known in the big cities around Ontario. This helps fuel my excitement to continue representing the Spencerville Agricultural Society and the Fair, as I gear up to attend and compete at the CNE this fall for the Ambassador of the Fairs! Thank you for this unique opportunity!