My name is Diane Van Staveren, and I am pleased to be the 2022-2023 Collingwood Agricultural Society and Great Northern Exhibition Senior Ambassador. Together with my Junior, Quinn Wells, we have had an exciting term.
For us, the Fair kicked off with a competitive ambassador program, filled with excellent speeches and impromptu responses. I would like to extend congratulations to all the other competitors and I hope we see them on stage again. Our Friday evening ended with photos, a quick change, and a few midway rides. Starting our Saturday at the fair, we passed out ribbons at several animal shows and hopped on some antiques for the tractor parade with Maureen McLeod. Starting the truck pull and the heavy horse pull gave us a behind the scenes look at the Fair. Karen Van Staveren and Grace Millsap kept us busy with visiting vendors, making our way to the special events ground, and visiting with Fair guests. We even met a few future ambassadors. On Sunday, Quinn and I were handed the mic and asked to run the baby show and pick the best decorated car at the demolition derby, before wrapping up the Fair weekend at the closing ceremonies.
In the fall, Quinn and I were pleased to return to the fairgrounds to celebrate the volunteers that make our Fair a success. It was nice to put faces to the many walkie-talkie names from the weekend and to celebrate the return of the Fair. I got to step up my runway walk at the Autumn Leaves Fashion Show, where I got to model for a local boutique. I also attended the OAAS District 5 Meeting, where I enjoyed meeting delegates from other Fairs in our district and hearing about their successes and challenges. I am looking forward to using what we learned for youth and education programming at the GNE, as I stay on the board as an Associate Director.
Next, Quinn and I jumped headfirst into the Christmas season with 4 parades. We somehow managed to get every season of weather with rain, snow and sunshine between the 3 weekends. Judy Ferguson was instrumental in putting together a beautiful float and thinking of every detail, down to the mitts. Our drivers Bob Percy, Gary Milne, and Chris Ferguson guided us safely through the parades and Lori Walker kept us warm with heated blankets and snacks.
In February, I had the opportunity to attend the OAAS Convention in Richmond Hill, where I met fellow ambassadors from across the province and gained a greater appreciation for all the planning and leadership that goes into our Fair. I am looking forward to participating in the District 5 Ambassador Program later this Spring, as well as competing at the Canadian National Exhibition this summer.
I wish to extend a thank you to our chaperones, committee members, and incredible sponsors who help to make the competition possible. Having once been a Jr. Ambassador, and now reflecting on my term as the Sr, I would like to encourage anyone who has an interest in public speaking, meeting new people, agriculture, or the Fair to consider participating in the Ambassador program. If you are looking for other ways to share your talents with our community, please consider volunteering with the fair. I am positive you will gain new skills, relationships, and memories, as I have throughout the Ambassador program.