Bentley salutes the farming community during annual fair and rodeo

A young rider holds onto her sheep after exiting the gate during last year’s Kids’ Wool Bustin’ at the Bentley Arena. This year’s fair and rodeo goes Aug. 7-12. Timon Johnson / Lacombe Globe

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The Town of Bentley will be the place to be this weekend as it hosts the 53rd annual Bentley Town and County Fair and Rodeo.

Held Aug. 7-12, this year’s edition is a salute to the farming community, which Bentley Ag Society Advertising Director Kathleen van Dam said couldn’t be more appropriate.

“We really are a farming community,” she said. “We always look at what service group needs it and with the NDP government not liking farmers and farming we thought: ‘hey, we do need our farmers,’ so that’s where that came from.”

Staying true to the farming theme, the itinerary features the tried and true activities that have been well received in the past, and little change this year.

“It’s like a well oiled machine – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” she said.

Officially, the fair began Tuesday and Wednesday with Bench Show entries being accepted, but major festivities will get underway on Thursday, Aug. 9.

From 7 a.m. until 10 a.m., a by-donation pancake breakfast put on by Lacombe ATB will be held at the Legion Park tent, followed by the annual parade – which will go down both sides of the town’s split boulevard at 1 p.m.

The Bench Show, featuring handicrafts, photography and the like, opens at the curling rink at 2 p.m., as does the seniors pie social at the community church. A children’s magic show, also at the curling rink, will be held a little later at 2:30 p.m.

Friday is another lighter day, at least on the fair side, with the Bench Show continuing with presentations at 12:30 p.m., and the annual Sunset Hills Riding Club Pancake Breakfast held from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. at the Legion Park tent.

At 10 p.m. at night, all are invited to the annual drive-in movie, where “Barn Yard” will be projected onto Bentley’s grain elevators.

The CARA Rodeo, meanwhile, will begin at 6 p.m. at the Bentley Arena. Admission is $10 per adult, $6 for youth and seniors, and free for those six years of age and under.

Saturday will be the busiest day of festivities with a second Sunset Hills Riding Club pancake breakfast held early in the morning, followed by a slo pitch tournament and horseshoe tournament. The Bentley Fire Dept. will hold a barbecue from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., and the Bentley Library will have a petting zoo in their parking lot from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The “Fun Zone” at the Blindman Valley Ag Centre, will open at 12:30 p.m. and feature a variety of family activities from bouncy castles to Lockdown Escape pods. The Kroozin’ West Show and Shine will take over Railroad Ave. for most of the day.

Onne of the most popular events for Saturday, however, will be the bazAART Show and Sale and Beer and Wine Tasting from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The event will feature a number of local brewers and wineries, who will also have product available for purchase.

Rodeo finals will start at 5 p.m, followed by the ever popular One West Cabaret Dance at 9 p.m. Admission, for adults only, is $15 per person at the door.

Fireworks will wrap the day off at 10:15 p.m. on Railroad Ave.

Sunday will once again be a lighter day, with an interdenominational church service held at 10 a.m. followed by a potluck lunch, and the wrap up of the horseshoe tournament in the doubles category.

A total of 5,000 patrons are expected, including visitors from across Alberta.

“This is our big event for the Town of Bentley,” said van Dam. “There’s a little bit of everything for everybody.”

For a full detailed list of festivities, visit