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It may seem counterintuitive that the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair is held during the Manitoba Spring Break, but pesky details aside, it’s an event much anticipated in this Prairie Province—this year, with springlike temperatures reaching Manitoba in late February, perhaps even more so than usual. From Monday, March 28, through Saturday, April 2, in Brandon, this annual agricultural fair joyfully celebrates the province’s rural roots, even as it ushers in the next growing season.
Held at the city’s sprawling Keystone Centre, the fair is one of Western Canada’s largest agricultural events (and one of only two fairs in Canada to receive Royal patronage from Queen Elizabeth II). Every day is action-packed, with horse competitions that include jumping, light draft and four-, six- and eight-horse teams (the Clydesdale, Belgian and Percheron breeds are all represented this year), hackney ponies and relays. Barrel racing, one of the fastest and most exciting events in rodeo, is also on the schedule, as are calf and piggy scrambles.
On Wednesday, March 30, get your toes tapping at the Royal Fiddlers’ Contest, the 43rd iteration of a competition that features Manitoba’s best up-and-coming and seasoned fiddlers. It’s a lively showcase for players who often go on to enjoy international music careers. Head to the Ag Acton Stage with the kids, where daily presentations from the super-athletic Super Dogs, as well as junior cattle shows and sheep shearing, are all on display. And don’t miss the Royal Petting Zoo, where kids can meet pet goats, rabbits, chickens and other live animals every day.
BMO Kids’ Day is Thursday, March 31, and features the perennially favourite children’s entertainer Fred Penner in two shows. There’s more, of course, from Doodles the Clown and a magic show to nightly live entertainment and music at the MNP Hall & Barn Bar. Head out to Brandon with the whole family and bid a firm adieu to winter.
For more information, please visit royalmanitobawinterfair.com
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