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Great Northern Exhibition cancelled for second straight year

‘Basically, there’s too many unknowns,’ says Collingwood Agricultural Society president
2018-09-22 CNE JO-022
Cattle line up for judging on Saturday afternoon at the Great Northern Exhibition in this photo from 2018. Jessica Owen/CollingwoodToday files

For the second year in a row, the Great Northern Exhibition won’t be opening the door to the barn.

The Collingwood Agricultural Society made the announcement that the long-running agricultural fair won’t be running in 2021 in a letter on their website and Facebook page on Friday.

“Basically, there’s too many unknowns,” Joanne Gregson, president of the Collingwood Agricultural Society, told “In order to really plan and have everything in place to do things properly, you need to be able to book things now.”

“Also, we have an older group when it comes to volunteers. We sent out a survey to our volunteers and directors, and two-thirds of them said no, that we should cancel this year and wait it out,” she said.

Gregson said the decision wasn’t an easy one.

“This is my second year as president, and I’ve had to cancel both fairs. We have to think ahead. Is there going to be a fourth wave? We just don’t know,” she said.

However, Gregson said the Collingwood Agricultural Society is looking at some virtual options for the selling of home crafts. They are also exploring the option of having fireworks displays take place the weekend the GNE would have occurred, from Sept. 24-26.

Gregson said conversations with be taking place between organizers and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit over the next week or two to determine a best course of action moving forward.

“We’ll be finding out more about what can we do, and what can’t we do,” she said.

The Great Northern Exhibition started in 1855 in Duntroon, later moving to Collingwood, eventually finding a home on Fairgrounds Road in Clearview Township. It would have celebrated its 165th birthday in 2020.

Any future events will be posted on the Collingwood Agricultural Society’s Facebook and website.

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 15 years of experience to her role as reporter for Village Media, primarily covering Collingwood and education.
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