MPP Fullerton brings cash to the fair

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

CARP – Kanata-Carleton MPP Dr. Merrilee Fullerton dropped by the Carp Agricultural Hall yesterday (April 21) and she brought her wallet with her.

During a small press conference held on the Carp Fairgrounds yesterday, Fullerton announced the Ontario government was providing a $21,498.39 grant to the Carp Agricultural Society (CAS), part of ongoing support from the Ontario government to Ontario’s agricultural societies.

“We’re looking forward to the fair staying open and it’s one of the things the Ontario government is committed to, not just community organizations, but people’s mental health and people’s ability to gather, so keeping things open is something we are committed to doing,” Fullerton told West Carleton Online as the though process behind the government’s funding announcement. “We understand the hardships various health measures have taken on businesses and organizations and we’re helping put that behind us.”

The CAS, an organization known for hosting large community events, was challenged greatly by the more than two-year COVID-19 pandemic, most notably, cancelling the fair for the first time in more than 100 years in 2020.

 The end of 2021 and beginning of 2022 has been the bounce-back year for the CAS.

A photo of four members of the garden glub in the reading garden.
From left, West Carleton Garden Club members Donna Caldwell, Anne Gadbois, Leislie Alvarenga and Brenda Baird pose in front of a plaque dedicating the West Carleton Reading Garden. The club also received a $1,000 grant.  Photo by Jake Davies

“We’re already planning for the fair this September, we had Carp Fair euchre this winter, Carp Fair Men’s Night was last weekend and Women’s Night is this weekend (April 22), a couple of large horse shows, we have Carp Fair Drive-In Bingo this summer and we’re hosting a national fastball championship this summer, so there’s lots going on here and it wasn’t for this contribution, we’d probably be looking at things a bit differently,” Carp Fair 2022 President of Agriculture Brent Palsson told West Carleton Online.

The funding isn’t earmarked for any particular envelope and Palsson says the CAS will add it to their general operating account.

“It feels great to have a little bit of pocket money for sure,” Palsson said. “Both those events (Men’s Night and Ladies Night – neither being held over the last two years) are fundraisers for us as well as other charities. I think speaking to what you asked Merrilee, people just want to get out and socialize. At Men’s Night, that’s what people wanted to do.

“They didn’t want to listen to us speak up on stage, they wanted to visit their friends and do stuff they weren’t able to do the last two years. That’s what’s exciting, is being able to have the fair this year, and get everyone together and host some community activities.”

“This investment will help these organizations continue to operate and support their important efforts to educate people about the value and significance of agriculture in the province,” Fullerton said. “We are fortunate to have such dedicated people involved in our local agricultural societies and it is wonderful to be able to support them in this manner. These organizations play an essential role in bringing people together and drawing together the realities of rural and urban life. They provide a real sense of community by bonding farm families with recreational activities, and they are an important window for urban residents to better appreciate the significant role farm and agri-food producers play in our community.”

Fullerton spread a little funding around to some other Ward 5-area organizations. The Kanata-March Horticultural Society and the West Carleton Garden Club and Horticultural Society each received $1,000 through the funding announcement.

 The funding is part of the Agricultural and Horticultural Support and Recovery Funding Initiative. This new funding builds on previous investments of more than $7 million to assist these organizations across the province over the past two years. 

Base Support Funding will be issued to all eligible agricultural and horticultural societies through funding payments of $1,000 as a means of supporting their continued incorporation and activities.

Hardship Funding for eligible agricultural societies will provide additional support which will be based on reported gate revenues from 2019. This will help off-set operating losses, liabilities, and fixed overhead costs related to land and buildings.

“The Carp Agricultural Society is thankful for the contribution from our provincial government. The support of our governments and the generosity of our many volunteers and sponsors are what has kept us going over the last two long years while our ability to raise funds in our regular manner had not been possible,” Palsson said. “Thank you.”

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