Fur n’ Feathers in Wetaskiwin

The Wetaskiwin Drill Hall is a Christmas wonderland when hosting events such as Gingerbread and Glitter. Decorative lights, displays, decorated Christmas trees and colorful displays fill the entire building. A couple months later on February 16th and 17th 2013 this same space was completely filled with rows and rows of cages of chickens, pigeons, doves, geese, ducks and rabbits. Replacing the gingerbread, Christmas trees and wreaths were displays of poultry supplies, bags of poultry feed and a wide variety of birds for show and sale.
        Mardell Thomson, resident of Gwynne and Secretary of the North Central Alberta Poultry Association described the event. “We hold this poultry and waterfowl show (Poultry, Pigeon, and Waterfowl Show) every year. It’s just a nice show of chickens, waterfowl and pigeons. Our exhibitors come from Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  This is our 12th  year of holding the show in Wetaskiwin. The club hosting the show before us held it here so we just continued.” Although Mardell did not have the final number of exhibitors, “the numbers are up from last year”. In 2012 the Show attracted approximately 60 exhibitors and 1000 rabbits, chickens, pigeons and waterfowl. 
    Mardell describes the various elements of the Show. “I’m not sure how many exhibits this year. Thought he said close to 500 for the birds. We have anything from the bantam chickens right up to the giant size standard breed of the poultry. There is a good selection of ducks right up to the heavy breed of geese and I see a nice selection of turkeys here this year too. Pigeons (section has) a little bit of everything there.  Prairie ornamentals including the pheasants are new this year. We also have different added attractions and displays. We have a petting zoo every year and every year it is just a little bit different. We have baby puppies, rabbits, chickens and baby chicks for the children to play with and hold this year.” The Show is also host to the Edmonton and Area Rabbit Society and their all-breed rabbit show.
    The North Central Alberta Poultry Association club was formed in 2001 to promote pigeon/poultry/waterfowl breeding as a hobby. Many rare/heritage breeds are only surviving as a result of hobbyists breeding them, which is why it is important for Clubs to promote the raising of them and provide the opportunities to show them. The Annual Show in Wetaskiwin gives the Club an opportunity to include a rabbit, small bird and other small animals in the show to expand knowledge of other hobbies. 
    A steady stream of visitors toured through the Show and admired the many varieties of birds and rabbits. Children (ranging in age from toddlers to grandparents) were delighted with the opportunity to not only view the birds and animals but in many cases allowed to hold or pet them for the first time in their lives. The petting zoo was a flurry of activity as parents proudly watched as their children hold and cuddle the birds, rabbits and even recently hatched chicks. The Club encourages this interaction in an effort to encourage people of all ages to become involved in the hobby. 
    Contestants participating in the Show hoping that at the end of the judging of each category, their cage would be the one displaying a grand champion ribbon. More importantly, they were all there to enjoy an event that brings together a group of people with a common interest and passion. They were also there to staff displays, buy, sell trade and most importantly meet with old friends and make new ones. 
    By 3:00 pm, Sunday, February 17th the Show was over and the exhibitors all returning home to prepare for the 2014, 13th Annual Poultry, Pigeon and Waterfowl Show in Wetaskiwin. 

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