When he was 11, Adam Vervoort went to the Fergus fall fair and fell in love.
It was there he first laid eyes on exhibition chickens .
“I liked them and started getting into them then,” he said, standing among rows of cages of exhibition chickens at the Western Fair. “Exhibition chickens are just like dogs and cats people show. You’re always trying to breed something that’s perfect.”
For about 15 hours a week, Vervoort cares for the birds on a large property on the outskirts of Tillsonburg, where the chickens run free.
“There are people who make a full-time job of it,” he said.
Vervoort has 100 chickens, with about 60 across 20 different breeds on display in London.
Though the Western Fair is a display only, his chickens have hatched ribbons and trophies in other fairs.
The hardest part of showing exhibition chickens? “The one thing you have to do before you show them is wash them. They really don’t like it,” Vervoort said.
Many people forget that the Western Fair has its roots in agriculture.
In the Agriplex, a large display of animals and animal shows remind city-slick Londoners that just beyond its borders is a farm-belt that is the heart of Southwestern Ontario.
The fair has brought more of those agricultural roots to the centre of the midway with “down on the farm,” where children can learn about life on the farm and have tractor races.