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Casting a Webb at fair for 60 years

From roosters crowing to pie-eating contests, Priddis-Millarville has it all
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Millarvillefairpattywebb
Patty Webb has entered the Priddis-Millarville Fair for more than 60 years. She has more than 100 entries this year, including baking using a bowl, above, she used years ago when the family had no running water. (Bruce Campbell, Okotoks Western Wheel)


There’s no slowing down for a Turner Valley woman who won her first ribbon at the Priddis-Millarville Fair more than 60 years ago.
Patty Webb, 73, has 104 entrees in this weekend’s fair and will likely be adding to her ribbon collection.

She won her first at about eight years of age.


“My first ribbon was for showing a calf and my first bench show was for some embroidery — and I still have that piece,” Webb said with a laugh. “That was 64 years ago.”


Webb grew up approximately two miles from the fairgrounds.


She has entered in this year’s 112th fair in categories ranging from baking to artwork.


When the entry form comes out she still gets as excited as a young girl from yesteryear going through the Sears catalogue at Christmas.


“It’s just the spirit of it all,” Webb said. “When the fair books comes out with the classes, you get really excited. It’s a great satisfying experience.”


She submitted baked goods back as a young girl  when she didn’t have running water and used a coal-and-wood stove.
“We had limited baking equipment,” she said. “We had one big bowl that we used all the time that you had to continually wash to do the next project. It was hard work but it was rewarding.”


She’s known for her bread-making — and she won’t use a bread-maker.


“People tend to like the old-fashioned way, which is very gratifying,” she said. “I wouldn’t have anything to do with a bread machine. I just love the feeling of kneading the bread.”


Having 104 entries does take some planning.


“When the fair is ended, you start thinking about it,” she said. “You have all winter to sort it out.”


She also has entries in the arts, flowers and vegetables, as well as the handicrafts section this year.


Down-home events from rooster-crowing to baking is what gives the fair its atmosphere — and its popularity, said Suzanne Sills, chairperson of the fair’s organizing committee.


“That’s why we still have things like the pie-eating contest, watermelon eating, the bench shows,” she said. “We work very hard to keep the country-fair atmosphere.”


New this year is the inaugural Millarville Grill Master cooking competition.


It’s a barbecue with a twist. It is tied in with Alberta Local Food Week, so all the food has to be local.


Very local for these cooks.


“The competitors will shop with the market vendors on Saturday and they will prepare their food on Sunday,” Sills said.


The celebrity judge is April Lee Baker, a finalist from Masterchef Canada Season 3, who was living in Turner Valley at the time.


The new arena will open things up and make things a little wild.


“We have got a series of what we call wildlife ambassadors, and they will represent some of the animals in the area,” Sills said.


There will also be representatives from Birds of Prey, which will feature live birds, such as eagles, owls and others that flock to the Foothills.


A concert from Taken By Sanity is on Saturday at 12:15 p.m.  For more information about the Aug. 17-18  fair go to millarvilleracetrack.com

 




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Bruce Campbell

About the Author: Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell is the editor for Okotokstoday.ca and the Western Wheel newspaper. He is a graduate of Mount Royal College journalism program, 1991. For story tips contact bcampbell@okotoks.greatwest.ca
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