Thank you for joining us this year.
To view the 2 days entertainment, visit our Face Book page - Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Country Fest
PRESS RELEASE – July 31st, 2020
COUNTRY FEST at home
Okay folks, the stats are in!!!!!
COUNTRY FEST at home concerts, through its live streaming efforts from the Maple Ridge Fairgrounds, attracted a whopping total of 9,581 views. We were thrilled with these numbers, the Board of Directors and volunteers that worked tirelessly before and during the weekend, were absolutely amazed. Using a recommended formula the actual count equates to almost 29,000 viewers. Reports show that we entertained visitors from South Africa, England, Netherlands, Brazil, Austria, Croatia and four states in the USA.
We felt out of our comfort zone with all the changes but after we overcame the sadness of cancelling the heritage event, the anxiety of learning new live streaming skills and learning COVID-19 restrictions to keep everyone safe and sound we showed SUCCESS!! What a feeling!!!
Over the past 119 years the heritage event has only had to cancel the fair during wartime when the agricultural buildings at the fairgrounds, which at that time was located in downtown Maple Ridge, was used to house the troops. The Board of Directors of the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Agricultural Association saw no reason to allow COVID-19 to stop them to fulfill their mandate of promoting agriculture and with the assistance of grant funding from the federal and local governments and enthusiastic volunteers, the show went on.
The most difficult challenge was to keep the total numbers of volunteers, technical staff and entertainers to a maximum on the site to fifty at any given time. Entertainers were asked to only arrive 30 minutes before their show and then leave immediately after their performance and so the hospitality that we usually are happy and proud to offer, just couldn’t happen this year. But they understood the restrictions and they were all, without exception, very grateful for the opportunity to sing and dance their hearts out. The atmosphere on the stage was amazing and was like no other year that I can remember. No visible audience this year, no clapping, no cheering, no opportunity for audience participation, but there was an incredible amount of gratitude. Our first class stage lineup was chosen to attract all of our site visitors. We had several multicultural acts including bands, dancers and a choir. We offered bands that performed tributes to Tina Turner, Bryan Adams, Joe Cocker and more. In addition we hosted six local bands that competed to win two days in a the Studio Downe Under recording studio prize and the always popular and part of our regular Country Fest programming, a non-denominational Church at Country Fest service.
During the fifteen minutes changeover of the entertainers eight different Countryfest-Palooza power point presentations were featured which highlighted 4-H members, agricultural educational displays and demonstrations and of course our past attractions. It was a reminder of previous fairs and what to expect next year when we hopefully surface from the virus. Within that same fifteen minutes community leaders were given the opportunity to speak and to send powerful messages out to our community and our front line workers. Our extremely talented weekend M.C., Cheryl Ashlie, spiced up the weekend with interviews with the entertainers, a past 4-H member, antique tractor owner and many more including a mannequin in the audience dressed up like Dr. Bonnie Henry. In true agricultural spirit Dr. Bonnie was wearing designer shoes with artificial baby carrot embellishments that looked
more like a bunny smorgasbord.
We were thanked by all including one of the technical staff for keeping his crew safe by mandating masks throughout the event. He told us that you just don’t see that kind of courtesy and caring in his industry. What a wonderful weekend of entertainment but what was even better was the facts that we were able to give100 entertainers a cheque, 10 technical staff were also given a cheque, community leaders were given the opportunity to speak and finally 13 volunteers were able to do their magic and make a difference.
BEFORE THE CONCERT: Early this spring we decided to feature some special COVID19 themed classes in each section of the Home Arts; baking, needlework, photography, gardening and arts and craft. Classes were created for exhibitors to ensure that this much enjoyed element of the event was able to take place too. Entrants submitted their work digitally and judging was also conducted electronically; to ensure physical distancing. Although the entries were lower compared to previous years, we received 50 adult and 70 junior entries. This was amazing and due to the process that we had to adopt, we had entries from Vancouver Island, the Interior and even England!
AFTER THE CONCERT: In the fall of this year the association is planning another event that will target elementary school aged students. The MaMaMia Pizza Educational Barn will be housed in the beef barn at the fairgrounds and its goal will be to help young children make the connection between what is
produced on our B.C. farms and one of their favourite foods, pizza. We are waiting to hear from School District 42 as to how we can reach as many children as possible. At this point we are preparing for a school tour over a period of a week or if that is not possible due to COVID19 restrictions we plan to
video the experience and circulate the video to all local schools and beyond to use in the classroom. Our plans are to develop, with guidance from Provincial experts from Agriculture in the Classroom, pre-tour worksheets using the school curriculum. Stay tuned for the details on this program.