By Alana Tufford
During August 16-18th I had the privilege of representing our great Markham Fair in the ambassador of the fairs competition at the CNE and I’m proud to announce that I came within the top 7 (President Lesley English and 1st Vice Kelly Winnitoy swear I came 4th). This competition had approximately 75 ambassadors from fairs across Ontario and needless to say, the competition was stiff. Many were members of 4H, individuals attending Guelph for an agriculturally focused degree, or just beautiful people with equally beautiful personalities. Don’t be mislead though, it wasn’t just a party for the ladies; we had the pleasure of 3 handsome gentleman’s company with Greg Williams taking the title of most congenial. After he regaled us with tales that split our sides for the duration of the weekend we all felt that he was best suited to bring us pizza during our workout #Sandrabullock.
When we arrived we were alphabetically split into 4 groups, mine being group 2, which we were to stay with all weekend. This meant we did our individual interviews with the judges in the same timeslot, communication seminars, self defense classes, resume writing and general companionship together. However that couldn’t hold me down! Not only had I the opportunity to meet many ambassadors at the OAAS convention but earlier in October I had met our other members of district 5; this meant that I was hard pressed not to go ahead and chat up everyone. It’s difficult to describe the feeling of being in a room of about 80 people and being able to go talk to any one of them with ease. For that experience alone, I am grateful.
After recovering from a migraine and going on the Zip Line that supplied you to the best view of Toronto by far, Saturday night we were treated to a glitzy dinner with diamonds decaling the décor whilst the judges watched our every move, sounds relaxing right? Believe it or not, due to the companionship at my table and the speaker (a past Miss CNE) who made us mimic various animal noises, it was lovely.
Sunday was game day. We were to arrive downstairs with our entire luggage packed, looking beautiful, awake and on time… the only thing I am sure of was that I was packed, awake and on time. From there we headed back to the tanbark room (our batcave if you will), ate breakfast and put on our final touches for semi finals! During this portion of the competition you are to line up alphabetically, announce your name and your agricultural society, followed by the reading of your bio while you walk the stage for what I can only assume is the judges’ twisted pleasure. After this portion was complete we had free time until the finals which started at 1. This is when I met up with my wonderful family and headed straight for the food building; it’s a shame that you can’t be hungry when your stomach is full of butterflies but I guess it did aid me in avoiding the croanut burger. After some CNE fine food, hugs and well wishes, I headed back to our batcave to get ready for finals. Onstage each group was to do a cheer of their own making and after realizing on Sunday that another group was using the same song, we scrambled to create verbal gold. In the end, of course, group 2 had the best cheer ever invented in the history of man.
All weekend I was worried thinking “what if I invite all these people to come see me and I make them come out for nothing?”, but when I took the stage to announce once again my name and Agricultural society I was met with a barrage of verbal confidence supplied by many friends, fair family and family members in the audience; my worries vanished. I knew my speech, and I know my Fair so when “Alana Tufford” was announced during top 7, I couldn’t have been happier. You are announced, your bio is read once more and then you are to deliver your speech, after moving more people in the audience than GO transit I took my seat to enjoy the evening’s proceedings. The CNE and many amazing members of the ambassador program gave 75 of us an experience we aren’t soon to forget, confidence that is not soon to be broken and skills that we are soon to use; for all of this, I am forever grateful.
From the CNE
For more than 40 years, young representatives from fairs across Ontario have competed to become the Ambassador of the Fairs. This year-long title takes the winner across Ontario as a representative of the CNE and all agricultural fairs.
Since its inception in 1971, more than 1300 young people from 100 communities throughout the province, have taken part in this illustrious contest. This year the event took place at the CNE from August 16 to August 18, with the winner crowned tAugust 18th in the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
The 2013 Ambassador of the Fairs is Claire Milton of Stratford and District Agricultural Society.
This year’s winners are as follows:
- 2013 Ambassador of the Fairs: Claire Milton, Stratford and District Agricultural Society
- 1st Runner Up: Megan Lowry, Ripley Agricultural Society
- 2nd Runner Up: Sylvia Megens, Uxbridge-Scott Agricultural Society
Congeniality Award winner:
- Greg Williams, North Dorchester Argicultural Society
- Niki Aslop, Feversham Agricultural Society
- Darla Downey, Madoc Agricultural Society
- Alana Tufford, Markham and East York Agricultural Society
- Courtney Connors, Vankleek Agricultural Society