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Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition facing financial fallout after Hurricane Dorian forces weekend cancellations

Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition manager John Robinson looking out over the grounds.
Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition manager John Robinson looking out over the grounds. - Brendan Ahern

'No one was hurt. No animals either. That’s the important part'

PICTOU, N.S. —

The Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition may have experienced minimal structural damage, but the effect Dorian has had on the bottom line is still being assessed.

“All the weekend events had to be cancelled,” said exhibition manager John Robinson. “In the end we might survive, in the end we might not.”

Sitting inside his pickup truck with close to $8,500 in bills on the dashboard, Robinson told The News that cancellations due to unsafe weather conditions and power outages cost the annual exhibition nearly $30,000 in revenue.

“A lot of people have come forward and reduced their bills, or waived them altogether,” said Robinson appreciatively.

The exhibition, which is a rural fair featuring agricultural events and contests got started on Sept. 4, four days before Hurricane Dorian made landfall in Nova Scotia. Members of the public who won prizes have also been donating their prize money back to the exhibition to help offset the losses.

“With all those concessions by the public, we may survive.”

That’s not the only thing that Robinson says he’s thankful for.

“There was very little damage,” said Robinson of the exhibition grounds and buildings located behind the Hector Arena on Naylor Drive in Pictou.

“And no one was hurt. No animals either, that’s the important part,” said Robinson. “If the storm had ripped the roof off the draft horse barn, then it would have been a catastrophe.”

As it turns out, this is not a hypothetical scenario. The people SunDance Farms experienced exactly that.

Winds from Hurricane Dorian tore the roof off of this barn at SunDance Farms on Sept 7.
Winds from Hurricane Dorian tore the roof off of this barn at SunDance Farms on Sept 7.

“I was standing at the sink, doing the dishes and I just saw the backside of the barn roof lift up,” said Jeanie MacKinnon of SunDance Farm which is located less than a kilometre down the road from the exhibition grounds. “Then the next gust of wind came and flipped the whole thing over.”

None of MacKinnon’s 13 horses were hurt during the storm, and she and her family plan to rebuild next year.

The Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition, is a rural fair featuring agricultural events and contests. It started on Sept. 4, four days before Hurricane Dorian made landfall in Nova Scotia.

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