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Summer Explorer: Cochrane Fair more music and family friendly than ever this year

The Cochrane and District Agricultural Society is promising more fun than ever at this year’s Cochrane Fair, slated to go for two days instead of one, Aug. 19 and 20. This year’s version leans more toward music and family fun than it perhaps did in previous years.

At the Cochrane Fair this year there will be no bull, but plenty of cowbell.

The Cochrane and District Agricultural Society is promising more fun than ever at this year’s Cochrane Fair, slated to go for two days instead of one, Aug. 19 and 20.

This year’s version leans more toward music and family fun than it perhaps did in previous years.

Kids will have trouble riding sheep that are way bigger than them. Grown men will have trouble racing chuckwagons pulled by horses way smaller than them. And motorcycles will fly through the sky, driven by riders who may have trouble getting anyone to insure them.

For those looking it up on the schedule, those events would be Mutton Busters, Mini Chuckwagons, and the Ride the Vibe Motorcycle Show – all fan favourites.

The Ride the Vibe motorcycle stunt team comes from Golden, B.C. After every show, they will host a meet and greet with the riders and a chance to see their bikes up close and personal.

Cochrane Fair chair Leslie Hunt says there will be something for everyone, and with no COVID-19 restrictions in effect, the fair will be bigger and better than last year.

An Indigenous Cultural Experience will be part of the fair as well.

The outdoor arena will host rodeo-type events, and Farm Alley will house miniature horses and regular horses, goats, and other farm-related exhibits. There will be food trucks, children’s entertainment, pony rides, a safety show – something for everyone. Even the beer garden will be family-friendly.

“That’s our goal – to provide Cochrane and area a fun-filled family day,” she said.

Hunt said it feels good getting the fair back to normal after the last couple of years. Organizers weren’t able to book the bull riders due to a scheduling conflict, but will more than make up for it in other excitement, according to Hunt.

“It’s a dream come true. It’ll be tough to beat last year, but I think with the two days we’re going to have even more fun,” she said.

Mutton busting is particularly fun, for some.

“The parents are always really excited about having their kids do the mutton busting and the kids are excited until they see the sheep. Things kinda go sideways really quickly,” she laughed.

It can take some gentle persuasion to smooth the transition from still pictures to action.

“What we do is we take a picture of the child standing beside one sheep and then we convince them to get on another, and it’s fun,” she said.

“Mom and dad have a blast. The kids, if they manage to hang on, have a blast.”

“There’s some tears and some laughs, it’s good fun for everybody.”

A ‘Dog and Pony Show’ will see horses compete with dogs in an obstacle course.

And the mini chuckwagons are every bit as exciting as the full-sized ones, according to Hunt.

Attendees will be able to kick the mud off their boots to three Alberta country/rock bands on two nights.

Stampede Wrestling is coming back this year, scheduled for Friday evening, followed by The Scarecrows, a six-piece ensemble that can seamlessly transition from rock to country tunes.

Country music recording artists Julian Austin and Chris LeBlanc will both bring their bands to the stage Saturday night to cap off a day of fun.

The Cochrane Ag Society Park is at the intersection of Highway 22 and Highway 1A. Motorists who are not familiar with Cochrane can head west on Highway 1A approximately half a kilometre outside town, and then the park is the first turn on the right.

For more information, go to cochranefair.com.