Although they’ve barely had time to recover from a busy week, Amanda Langille and Tanya Colburne say they’re thrilled with the results of this year’s Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition.

The pair created Langille & Colburne – More than Events, and were contracted to co-ordinate this year’s exhibition, which celebrated 70 years.

“Overall, we’re very pleased with how everything turned out,” said Langille. “We wanted to improve the feel and elevate the experience of the exhibition for everyone involved and I think we’ve done that. The comments we’ve received during and after definitely reflect that. Many people took time to tell us their thoughts throughout the week.”

Numbers are up across the board this year. The total attendance was approximately 24,000 people, which is up more than 8,000 over last year’s number. In terms of revenue, all lines in the budget have increased as well, although Langille says she can’t confirm by how much just yet.

“We’re expecting a final number soon but we’re still trying to tally entry fees and other sources of revenue,” she said.

A self-identified control freak, Colburne says the opportunity to get involved with the NSPE was a great learning experience for her and Langille. She says the sheer size of the event made it impossible for them to be involved in every piece of the puzzle.

“That was a challenge early on for us,” Colburne admitted. “As much as we may have had a vision in our mind of exactly how we wanted to do things, inevitably it never happens that way. When you multiply all of that by the multitude of people and the activities, there were definite moments where we had to take a step back and look at things from a different approach. It was an interesting ride for both of us.”

Both Langille and Colburne agree the support the exhibition received from those involved made life a lot easier leading up to and during the week-long event.

That included a dedicated committee, a large group of volunteers and the NSPE executive.

“We didn’t realize just how big or dedicated the volunteer component was to this event,” said Langille. “To be able to work with this dedicated team of volunteers on a common vision was incredible. It was pretty amazing to watch the volunteers go about their business and be ready to lend a helping hand whenever one was needed.”

Sponsorship was also a big factor in this year’s exhibition. Early on, both in-kind and cash contributions allowed the exhibition to kick off on the right foot.

The painting of the industrial building, new signage, work to the gravel parking lot and having old shacks torn down offered visitors a fresh, clean look and feel.

“The level of support, sponsorship and community engagement we had was overwhelming through the entire process,” said Colburne. “Having Masstown Market involved early on as the presenting sponsor really positioned us well. I believe their involvement set the tone and then when you look at everyone who got involved, it sends such a great message to the community. We had well over 100 sponsors. That says something.”

This year’s exhibition kicked off on August 22 with the free 4-H Family Fun Day. 4-Hers from across the province had the opportunity to showcase what the organization is all about. Later that evening, opening ceremonies were held, which included a First Nations drum group, greetings and well wishes from dignitaries and a performance by Atlantic Cirque.

Both demolition derbies proved to be hits once again this year as a large crowd gathered in the infield of Truro Raceway on Wednesday and Friday evenings.

“The all-talent show and fiddle fest were both successful again this year,” said Colburne. “Then you have the traditional events like the beef show, ox pull and tug-of-war which continue to be popular and I would say if anything, they gained interest this year.”

The Celebrate Local aspect of the event was also well-attended. Early on, Langille and Colburne say there was a bit of confusion around the schedule. But once people learned it would be running from Thursday to Saturday, things smoothed out.

“This was a big part of the Ex for me,” said Langille. “To see the industrial building full was really exciting and I loved the Taste of Nova Scotia culinary stage. Our slogan this year was ‘Let’s Celebrate’ and that meant celebrating local. Even the Farm Equipment Museum worked hard to bring in a lot of local artisans to do demonstrations throughout the week. That really tied into the Celebrate Local component.”

The return of the truck pulls on Saturday proved to be a good move. Langille says it broke the one-day attendance record for the exhibition. The Midway was also a popular draw for many young people and the young at heart.

“Hinchey’s was superb to work with,” said Langille. “They agreed to have all their workers in uniform and we had a designated smoking area for their employees. It may not sound like a lot but to not have carnival workers smoking near the rides and having them in uniform really made a difference for families. They also brought a new ride this year which was well received.”

Although there were many ups and downs throughout the week, Langille says no one has brought any major concerns forward. However, that’s not good enough for Langille and Colburne. They’re looking to hear feedback from everyone – good or bad – in the coming weeks.

A survey is available online and they’re encouraging everyone who participated in some fashion to take a few minutes and provide some feedback.

“It’s the only way to improve,” she said. “This information can be used moving forward, whether it’s us returning or someone else taking it over. This is a chance for people to tell us what they liked, what they didn’t like and more.”

At this point, Langille and Colburne have no idea what the future holds in terms of the exhibition. They plan on meeting with the exhibition committee and then the board of the NSPE in the coming weeks.

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Celebrating 70 years

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Revitalized Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition offers fresh, clean feel for visitors

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Revamped Ex brings increases in attendance, revenue

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(Jeff Gill – Hub Now)

A entertainer with Atlantic Cirque performs during the opening ceremony of the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition. In addition to the fire act, a floor and aerial act were also performed for the audience. The Ex ran from August 22 to 27 in Bible Hill.

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By Jeff Gill

BIBLE HILL

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Jeff Gill – Hub Now

The Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition celebrated its 70th anniversary this year. The week-long festivities kicked off August 22 and ended August 27. ClOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Atlantic Cirque entertainers warmed up the crowd with a performance on August 22. Braxton and Dakota Dalrymple of North River had some fun in the photo booth set up inside the Agridome. Lawson Fulmer, a junior member with the Truro-North River 4-H Club, oversaw the petting zoo one day during the exhibition. Nick Harvey and Andrew Hartt were just two of many who enjoyed the Hinchey’s Midway. Andrew Mooney jumps from his car after it caught fire during the front-wheel drive demolition derby on August 23. Mooney was declared the winner minutes after fleeing his car. Visit www.hubnow.ca to view our photo gallery from the Exhibition as well as demolition derby videos.