The Royal Manitoba Winter Fair will be taking place next week in Brandon and Redfern Farm Services will be there!
This year, Redferns will be a sponsor of the ever-popular Miss Piggy Scramble next Wednesday and Thursday night in the main arena of the Keystone Centre. Redferns.ca caught up recently with Ron Kristjansson, general manager of the Provincial Ex, to discuss all things RMWF… Enjoy!
How important are partnerships, such as your association with Redferns, when it comes to putting on massive events, such as the RMWF?
Kristjansson: It’s critical to what we do. We can’t do what we do, we can’t put on the shows we do without the support of sponsors like Redferns. Their knowledge base, their commitment to agriculture and to agriculture education is huge. Part of our mandate as an ag society is to be a link between urban and rural and to provide education in a fun and entertaining manner.
You mentioned ag education, which is a key part of what drives the RMWF year after year… Can you elaborate?
Kristjansson: We get our information from producers and ag companies like Redferns. Those partnerships are so valuable to us. We find more and more that we’re one generation further off the farm for a big percentage of our population. So being able to bring the farm to town, if you would, for a week in March and have people come out and learn about it is critical. My own belief is that people tend to believe what they’re told first, so if we bring them to the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in March, have them talk to people like Redferns, to producers, to commodity groups who work with us, and learn the facts about food production, we get to tell our story first so it’s huge.
Redferns is excited to be sponsoring the Miss Piggy Scramble this year. This is always a unique event for youngsters to take part in year after year isn’t it?
Kristjansson: The pig scramble is always a really entertaining piece of the fair. Once again, it’s an opportunity to be a little bit educational because lots of these kids have never had any experience being around a pig, they have no idea what a pig feels like when they grab hold of it. Quite a few of them just let go because they didn’t expect a pig to feel like that. I was involved with the scramble for years as a volunteer before I became the manager. For the most part, these are school kids that have no idea about pigs and the sponsors and the people who work with it just have a ton of fun meeting these young people. It’s a ton of fun.
What do you enjoy most about the RMWF personally?
Kristjansson: No matter what industry you’re in, whether you’re putting on events, you’re raising food, you’re a commercial ag producer, you’re an ag company, if we don’t have the next generation’s involvement, the longevity of whatever we’re doing is pretty limited. For me, seeing young people come in and seeing new exhibitors… that’s always great. Our cattle show is primarily a youth event and it’s growing. We’ve also got some new younger directors involved with our organization with great ideas, great enthusiasm. Any time you have a mix of the generations as it were – we’ve got some families that are three to four generations deep who are involved in the fair, so that’s great too.
Redferns has been associated with the RMWF for quite some time… haven’t they?
Kristjansson: I would have to go through some records, but to my knowledge it’s been pretty much since there was a Redferns. Ray (Redfern) himself and a lot of his family have been volunteers and have worked hard, including a lot of his staff at Redferns over the years, who have been involved in a variety of different pieces of the fair.