By Kevin J. Sabo For the Advance
The Castor & District Agricultural Society held their annual general meeting and dinner on Jan. 6th.
The meeting highlighted another successful year for the Society, which through various sub-committees oversees community events such as the Castor Rodeo, the Castor Fair, the community Farmers Market and the community hall management board.
The Castor rodeo held another successful event, despite having to be postponed from the end of June to the middle of July. The Castor fair was down nearly 200 entries, however still succeeded in drawing nearly 800 entries.
The Castor Farmers Market held steady for 2019, drawing an average of 21 vendors.
“We’re focusing on the best use of grants and money that we get,” said Society President Tony Nichols.
“We’re trying to keep the status quo and keep these groups operating.”
Other highlights of the past year for the Society included receiving a $23,520 Energy Efficiency grant which was used to convert the lights inside the community hall to LED, replace the bar cooler with a more energy-efficient model, and replace some of Castor Little Theatre’s stage lights with more energy efficient ones.
“(This grant) came out of the blue,” said Nichols.
“They called, said we had it, and that we had to use the money by the 20th of February 2020.”
In addition to the grants, other sources of revenue for the Agricultural Society included donations, entry fees for events, fundraising, rentals, and casino and raffle income.
Total income for 2019 was over $200,000, with a good chunk of the money going towards paying down the debt that is still owed on the hall, community donations, insurance, prizes, utilities, wages and youth scholarships as well as other day-to-day operational expenses.
For scholarships, the Society issues a maximum scholarship of $500 to youth who have attended Gus Wetter School or done homeschooling within the Society’s area of operations.
Applicants must show that they are attending a secondary school or apprenticeship and that they can use their schooling to “Enrich rural life.
“They give us an essay or the background of what they are going to do,” said Nichols.
“If they give us a good enough reason of where they are going, we haven’t turned them down.”
Last year was a slow year for Society Scholarships, with only six applications.
In 2018, 17 were handed out, according to Nichols.
The next year looks to be busy for the Society.
A grant through Progressive Waste Management has been applied for to install a permanently fixed projector in the hall, and all the events are returning in 2020 as well.
After a couple months off in January and February, the Castor Farmer’s Market will be returning in March, rodeo action returns to the community in June, and the Castor Fair is coming back in August.