Nova Scotia

New directors hope to bring energy to Shelburne County Exhibition

A new and younger group of directors at the Shelburne County Exhibition hopes to strengthen the annual tradition.

Organizers hope new attractions will appeal to large crowds

Oxen are ready to show at the Shelburne County Exhibition last summer. (Submitted by Billie Buchanan)

A new board of directors is looking to make the Shelburne County Exhibition more successful by appealing to a younger crowd.

The 143rd Shelburne exhibition will be held in August. From clowns and hypnotists to chainsaw jugglers and beekeepers, organizers are getting creative in order to pull people in.

Jamie Matthews, association president, said things are starting to look up since new members have joined the board.

"We sort of revamped our whole committee," Matthews said. "We got more younger people involved, which is a big key. We're getting away from some of the older ways of thinking."

Matthews said younger people are stepping into roles with fresh ideas to keep the exhibition successful.

Billie Buchanan, general manager of the exhibition association, said the return of midway rides after two years should be a boost.

"There hasn't been anything there really for the teenage age group for a couple of years," Buchanan said. "It just seems like they are always hollering, 'Bring the midway back!'"

Preparation for the exhibition is a yearlong process. The community-run event makes it happen with dedicated volunteers, sponsors from local businesses and fundraising.

Horses pull a modified hay wagon at the Shelburne County Exhibition parade last summer. (Submitted by Billie Buchanan)

This year, organizers have high hopes for the exhibition. They want to see 10,000 people stream through the gates to check out new vendors, more entertainment and more action.

A long tradition

"I grew up at the exhibition," said Buchanan. "It's a local show that we've all enjoyed our whole lives. And I just wouldn't want to see it close or fail. It's a local tradition."

New board members are eager

Brittany Nickerson is one of the youngest board members. Summers are busy as she travels all over Nova Scotia hauling four draft horses to exhibitions in Yarmouth, Bridgewater, Windsor, Caledonia and Antigonish.

Nickerson keeps an eye out for attractions to bring to Shelburne.

Last year Nickerson's daughter, Allie, saw a performance by a clown at the Caledonia exhibition. Her daughter really liked it, so Nickerson decided to tell the board in Shelburne.

She said the board is open to bringing in new attractions and performers.

"We're not going to be scared to try new things and to bring new people in and just go for it," Nickerson said. "We're not going to know until we try it, right?"