2020 edition of Williamstown Fair cancelled due to COVID-19

As the stream of COVID-19-related cancellations has mounted this year, it seemed inevitable that the county’s second-largest summer event (after the Glengarry Highland Games) would be disrupted, and this week the news became official: there will be no Williamstown Fair in 2020, at least not this summer.

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The official statement began, “With great regret, the St. Lawrence Valley Agricultural Society, organizer of Canada’s oldest annual fair, announces the postponement of the traditional 209th edition of the Williamstown Fair (August 7-8-9, 2020) due to the ongoing pandemic.”

The Maxville Fair, scheduled for late June, was cancelled back in April (see my story about this here), and the Glengarry Highland Games, the county’s biggest summer celebration, was nixed last month (story here).

Despite the slight relaxing of government and health regulations recently, conditions remain as such that the holding of large events this summer simply won’t be possible.

“In light of directives from the government and public health officials, we have taken this difficult decision. Our top priority is ensuring the health and safety of our volunteers, community partners, and fairgoers, and we thank the public for their understanding and support.”

Michael Seguin, president of the St. Lawrence Valley Agricultural Society

The Williamstown Fair is Glengarry County’s annual celebration of agriculture and more, with a number of sports events featured over the course of the three-day gathering. Among these over the years have been competitions of tug of war, Highland Games, beach volleyball, and farmer olympics. The Great Raisin River Footrace has also been associated with the Fair each summer, too, though a few years back its route was adjusted to remain on the south side of the river, using the Sir John Johnson Manor House as its base.

On the 2020 Fair, at this point, organizers are deeming the action a “postponement.” The statement notes that “the Fair Board is committed to celebrating the community and its agricultural heritage and will be looking at ways of holding an alternative fair later this year.”

“Generations of dedicated volunteers work tirelessly to organize this beloved annual event and the current situation is only one of the many challenges the Fair has faced since its inception in 1812.”

St. Lawrence Valley Agricultural Society

At this time, a final decision on holding the Great Raisin River Footrace has not yet been made. The organizers, Beyond 21, have stated that an official announcement will come in early June.

On April 5, the committee announced, “With the continued uncertainty of COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to suspend registration for the 2020 Great Raisin River Footrace.” However, the race was and has not been cancelled, at least not yet. Officially, the run is slated for Sunday, August 9. This year will mark its 42nd edition.

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