Special Statement from the Organizing Committee

July 27th, 2021

To our community,

Winchester Dairyfest has been a pivotal event in our town’s history. Dairyfest started in 1988 by a small committee of merchants to celebrate Winchester’s Centennial year. Joel Steele was one of the founding fathers of Dairyfest and passed the torch only after ensuring that Dairyfest was well rooted and would be an annual event that residents could look forward to every August.
Not only have lasting memories been made through Dairyfest but for over 30 years the funds raised during the event have gone on to contribute to well-needed local projects. Some of the projects include; the addition and elevator at the Winchester Arena, purchase of picnic tables for the Park, the replacement of the air conditioner at the Winchester Arena, contribution to the redevelopment of Sweet Corner Park and more.

Though the love and interest of Dairyfest still run strong in our community, the last decade has become increasingly difficult to find committee members and dedicated community volunteers. Volunteers are the glue to the event. They come together to raise funds, seek out entertainment, collaborate with local businesses, and work towards making Winchester’s only festival the place to be.

In 2020 the Dairyfest Committee knew the challenges they would face with not being able to source local volunteers. With that knowledge, the committee planned to host smaller, more manageable events. Nevertheless, a new challenge arose in the form of COVID. All planned events had to be cancelled due to the unknown and fluctuations of local and provincial restrictions.
Dairyfest is currently being carried on by a small committee of 4 members. With another year of uncertainty and the in and out of restrictions the committee, like many other events throughout the Ottawa and surrounding area have decided to once again not host a large event. Not only do the restrictions hinder the ability to plan a large event but Dairyfest runs on the sponsorship of our local community. Many local small businesses have been impacted by COVID and we as a committee do not believe it is a proper time to be requesting sponsorship from those who are facing uncertainty in their own business.

Dairyfest has brought so much joy to our community and allowed our community to celebrate their love of our vibrant local businesses and agriculture. The Dairyfest committee does not want to see Dairyfest go and the overwhelming response from the community have also said they don’t want Dairyfest to end. However, unless Dairyfest can receive the support of the community through dedicated volunteers it will be forced to rebrand and host smaller events for as long as the funding is available and for as long as the 4 current volunteers can stay committed.

Even though we are faced with so much uncertainty we as a committee are striving to provide the community with fun. We still are hosting Roller Skating every Friday until August 27 from 6-9pm.

To our community – please see this announcement as our formal request for community support. Anyone interested in assisting with the potential 2022 Dairyfest reach out to info@winchesterdairyfest.com. First meeting has been tentatively scheduled for Monday, January 10th, 2022.

The committee welcomes all our community members to participate. There are many interesting positions for all skill sets including – site coordinator, music coordinator, volunteer to host events, volunteer coordinator, sponsorship coordinator and so forth. Most importantly the committee is seeking a volunteer for Committee Chair, a position that has sat empty for the last year.

The Dairyfest Committee