Farm kids and city slickers unite. The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, the annual ten-day festival celebrating all things country, takes over Exhibition Place from November 7 to 16, 2014.
For our family, it’s our prairie roots that bring us to the event every year. But you don’t have to have a country gene to enjoy all activities, sights and smells. Here are four fun ways to experience farm life at the fair:
Barnyard Tour: Feed the animals at the Petting Zoo, enjoy mini-tractor races and a farm-inspired dress-up area in the Ag-tivity Central and watch sheep shearing and cow milking demos at the Royal Education Ring and Centre. Or just wander around the Cattle Barns. (Watch where you step.)
It’s Show Time: This is where the animals have their moment in the spotlight. We’re talking horse jumping, Superdogs shows and sheep herding to name a few. The animal competitions are always fascinating.
Hello Heartland: Fan of Amber Marshall? We are. The star of CBC’s Heartland, she is emcee-ing the Ontario Toyota Dealers Rodeo on Sunday November 9th. She’ll also be signing autographs on Saturday, November 8th from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. (You need one of the limited free wristbands prior to the signing. Get it at the Royal Paddock located in Heritage Court.
Food: We don’t just mean eating. The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair helps kids learn about where food comes from. Play with your food on the aMAZEing Food Journey or wander among the giant veggies. This year’s feature veg is the rutabaga. Apparently a 112 lb. cabbage stole the show last year. Be sure to check out what Toronto art students can sculpt with over 300 kg of butter.
Low-Down: Open 9 am to 9 pm everyday except Sundays. Get the lay of the land with this map and consult the schedule. You can buy tickets on arrival or online for savings. Family passes available; children 3-and-under are free. Horse Show is extra. Stroller-friendly, although you may need to park it at certain locations. No specific area for breastfeeding moms.
Plan your visit: It’s impossible to see everything in one visit. Choose your must-see and work around that schedule. You may decide to keep it simple and stick to one area: the Petting Zoo and the Ag-tivity Centre are next to the Animal Theatre. For best seating and to ensure access to the animal shows, arrive early (with snacks for all) as you wait in line. One of our most enjoyable activities was simply chilling out and digging in the canola bin. There is is also comfortable rest area in Ag-tivity Central. Check out all the family-friendly offerings.
Potty time: Consult map for bathroom locations. Yes to baby change tables.
Food: Pack snacks or buy on site. Where to eat.