Five reasons to hit the Royal Winter Fair

Five reasons to hit the Royal Winter Fair

Butter, the devil you know 

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair starts today, and since we can only spend so much time gawking at horses and Prince Charles, we thought we’d scope out some of the more interesting (read: weird) things to take in at the Ex this week. With its butter-carving contests and dog tricks, the fair proves that rural exhibitions can be fascinating to city folk—as long as they know what to avoid. Here, five choice destinations:

Butter Sculpture
Contestants receive a 25-kilogram block of butter to sculpt into an object representing this year’s verbose theme: “Agriculture and equine youth participation at the Fair.” Participants are given nine hours to scrape, mould and melt the blocks of dairy fat into winning designs. Viewers can stroll by and see the artists at work or view the final products on display from November 12 to 15. We shudder to think how they dispose of these creations. Nov. 6 to 11, 9–5:30. Dairy Product Cooler, Hall B.

Honey Competition
Apiarists can enter five distinct types of honey—granulated, comb, cut comb, liquid, chunk—in hopes of winning the coveted Premier Exhibitor Award, presented to the entrant with the most points in each category. There’s even a section for beeswax and beeswax candles. Due to health regulations, visitors cannot taste the honey, but the beeswax will be on sale. Nov. 6 to 15, 9–9. Upper East Annex.

Giant Veggie Competition
Growers enter their largest vegetables, and aspiring farmers can purchase seeds to grow their own huge veggies. Sounds fun, but our plan is simpler: make jokes about the class-four entries—gourds measured by length. The freakish vegetables will be on display throughout the fair. Nov. 7 to 15. Hall B.

In addition to groan-inducing puns (dogs will “bow-WOW” audiences), this event features canines running obstacles, flinging themselves over barriers, singing and dancing. SuperDogs is one of the most popular events of the fair, especially among kids, so come early. Nov. 6 to 15, three or four shows daily (times vary). Royal Family Theatre, Hall D.

The House of Soy
The 1,200-square-foot home will be filled with soy foam furniture—including mattresses and cushions—as well as soy soap, skin care products, paint, carpet and more. The display is presented by the Ontario Soybean Growers in a push to educate the public on the uses of soy. Organizers will have soy-based food and drink products on hand, as well. Nov. 6 to 15, 9–9. House of Soy, Hall B.

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Nov. 6 to 15. $17. Exhibition Place, The Direct Energy Centre, 100 Princes Blvd., 416-263-3400,