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Remembering the inaugural Portage Fair


This stunning horticulture entry at the Portage Ex was awarded 1st prize for Kayla Cool  in the hanging basket section. It includes a selection of flowering and/or vining plants at least 12 inches or greater in length.

This stunning horticulture entry at the Portage Ex was awarded 1st prize for Kayla Cool  in the hanging basket section. It includes a selection of flowering and/or vining plants at least 12 inches or greater in length.

Remembering the inaugural Portage Fair
Two significant events have just recently concluded: Across the country we officially celebrated our nation’s 150th birthday on Canada Day, July1, then just a week later, our local 145th Portage Fair concluded after a successful three-day run.
The first annual Portage Fair
That event was born on Oct. 16, away back in 1872 when I wasn’t even yet a twinkle in my dad’s eye. Back then, Portage had a mere population of 300 inhabitants with stagecoach service to Winnipeg. Can you imagine riding to what is now our big city in a horse drawn stagecoach that must have taken hours to get there? We can’t begin to fathom what the roads to anywhere might have been like 145 years ago. Perhaps there was dust galore when weather was hot and dry or deep muddy ruts on an unpaved passageway during or after a heavy rainfall. I shudder to think what passengers and stagecoach drivers did during winter’s blast to keep their feet and hands warm in what sometimes might have been an arduous trip. Got me to wondering whether this way-back-when history is taught in our local area schools. Do we need something like an annual recognition of Oldtime Portage Days?
Horticulture in the Exhibition Building
With my huge interest in music and things green and growing, that’s one of the places I headed. Pat Crandell, also a director with the PortageX was in charge of exhibits in said building. Inside were entries ranging from numerous outstanding quilts to horticulture. Pat expressed deep appreciation to all exhibitors who entered something in the various classes. “I’m thankful for them. A lot of work and effort goes into being an exhibitor. They do it for the love of it.”
My path eventually led me over to the horticulture area. A hanging basket submission in section 127 entered by Kayla Cool of Portage took 1st prize (see photo) garnering a $50 gift card for Kayla.
Section 128 required the use of succulents to create either a hanging basket or Living Art Frame. An entry submitted by Catherine Epp also from Portage placed first in that division and Catherine too was awarded a $50 gift card.
Hard working Wes Hannah
Wes currently has top job as president of Portage Industrial Exhibition. In his capacity also as a director, Wes took charge of smooth operation of ongoing live entertainment and although probably exhausting at times, he loved every minute of it. Wes is such an approachable person and the right guy for that job.
Take for example the closing show in the tent on Sunday evening. There was ultra deluxe instrumental and danceable accordion music and songs with rhythm and percussion provided by Chris the Accordion Guy, along with Suzanne Bird on guitar, some vocals, spoons and hand drumming. Edgar Desjarlais playing rhythm guitar closed out the tent show with spiritual and sacred vocals accompanied by Bird.
This is Ted Meseyton the Singing Gardener and Grow-It Poet from the City of Portage la Prairie: Great and Growing – Good Things Happening.© A tip o’ my hat and a smile to all Herald Leader readers. Until next time, thanks for coming by this way.
singinggardener@mts.net



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