The Fergus Fall Fair is full of good old fashioned family fun.
And this year, Mary Brander from Rockwood, hopes visitors will take the opportunity to learn about agriculture and all that Wellington County has to offer.
Recently named the 2023/2024 Fergus Fall Fair Ambassador, Brander says she is honoured to support the annual showcase of local agriculture, food, talent, and rural fun.
Brander was one of three competitors who participated in the Fergus Agricultural Society’s 43rd ambassador program held on September 10 at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex.
Participants prepared a poster board display, completed an interview with a panel of judges, presented a speech and answered an impromptu question.
“My speech was related to the theme of the fair which is ‘country fun for everyone’,” Brander said.
“My main focus was about the need to connect rural and urban people and how fairs offer such a great opportunity to educate people about agriculture and where their food comes from.”
Growing up on her family’s dairy farm, Branderlea Farms, Brander is currently pursuing a career in agriculture and is enroled in first year studies at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College in the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture program.
Brander says she is passionate about educating the public about agriculture and food and hopes to work in the large animal health field in the future.
“I’m in this program at the university because I have been involved in agriculture my entire life. I have grown up with agriculture and I really enjoy it,” Brander said.
“I am thinking about becoming a vet which is why I chose the Science in Agriculture program specifically. But whatever I decide to do, I definitely want to be involved with agriculture in some way in the future.”
An active member of Wellington County 4-H Association for many years, Brander has completed over 60 projects and serves as a youth leader.
“I have been involved with 4-H since I was nine years old. It has given me leadership and confidence. I used to be really shy, but since being with 4-H, I took on some leadership positions. I started with being a secretary and then I became vice president and president as I became more and more confident,” Brander said.
“4-H has helped me gain public speaking and leadership skills. I’ve learned a lot and it’s been so much fun.”
Brander enjoys helping her family host the Rockwood Farmers' Santa Claus Parade of Lights, is involved in her church, and plays both hockey and rugby.
“I play Fergus Highland Rugby. I played girls hockey in Guelph, but now I think I will play on a hockey beer league team with my dad,” Brander said.
“And I hope to be involved in intramurals at university for co-ed three pitch and a ladies hockey team.”
In the year-long ambassador role, Brander will represent the Fergus Agricultural Society at the Fergus Fall Fair and other community events.
She will participate in the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) convention and Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) ambassador program in 2024.
Hosted by the Fergus Agricultural Society, the 186th Fergus Fall Fair runs September 15 to 17, 2023 at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex. Visit fergusfallfair.ca for the complete schedule of events.
“I hope that everyone has a great time at the Fergus Fall Fair and I want to ensure that visitors are aware of agriculture and where our food comes from. I want to help educate people,” Brander said.
“Agriculture is a really important industry and I want to do all I can to support it.”