Many have already noticed the midway creeping into Portage la Prairie ready to go full tilt July 5-7 as the Portage Industrial Exhibition launches its 147th Portage Ex.
As Select Shows sets up on the exhibition grounds — the usual adrenalin-inducing rides and sugar-sweet confections will be on tap — one of Canada’s longest continuously running country fairs has again prepared a schedule of events that offers something for everyone.
The midway is a given, as is the entertainment, but off the beaten path on the exhibition grounds lie events and experiences not to be missed. You owe it to yourself to take in the full flavour that a country fair like the Portage Ex has to offer.
New to the fair this year is mutton busting. It’s joked about in many places mutton busting has been the beginning — or the end — of many a rodeo cowboy’s career.
Bring your four to seven-year-olds on Sunday at 11 a.m. to the cattle ring and let them be a little cowboy! Mutton Busting (sheep riding) is hilarious — sometimes nerve-wracking — event where your helmeted child rides a sheep bareback. It is a true pint-sized rodeo with all the chills and (slow motion) spills. Bring a hockey helmet, fill out a required waiver and let them see how long they can stay on. Chances are your kid will be looking forward to riding again next year even if there were some tears and dirt in some uncomfortable places.
There’s also a little bit of rodeo taking place as the Manitoba Barrel Racers Association stages three qualifying events throughout the weekend.
There are daily livestock shows in the horse and cattle rings, a gymkhana, sheep herding demonstrations, Alpaca education and breed cattle shows.
If you love horses you will not be disappointed
Saturday there is halter and western class events starting at 9 a.m. and Sunday western reining starting 9 a.m. Look for a full schedule of fun, but skill-testing events Saturday like the egg and spoon race.
Check out the MNP building open from noon to 10 p.m. Friday thru Sunday for a myriad of displays of quilts, crafts, horticulture, baking, and 4-H projects. As well as interactive & agriculture displays.
Rising country start and Manitoba songstress Kendra Kay kicks off a talent heavy Saturday night on the main stage.
Few artists capture the spirit of country music like award-winning singer/songwriter Kendra Kay. Raised in small town Manitoba and true to her roots, her songs are inspired by traditional country music. As the 2018 Manitoba Country Music Association Fan’s Choice Award winner and the 2019 Canadian Independent Music Video of the Year Award winner for ‘Best Country Video’, she’s known for her ‘powerhouse vocals’ and has firmly established herself as an artist to watch. Her recent two singles ‘Buy You A Drink’ and ‘Fuel On The Fire’ easily crossed into the Top 100 Canada Country National Airplay and spent 17 weeks on the charts. She has been called a ‘rising country star’, earned the Manitoba Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year award (2015) and her sophomore EP ‘More To Me’ was co-produced by country star Terri Clark, with additional production credits going to CCMA Producer of the Year winner Murray Pulver, Juno Award winner Jeff Jones and Bart McKay. The star-studded effort includes songs co-written by artists such as Jessica Mitchell, Meghan Patrick and Patricia Conroy while featuring 3 x Juno nominee Don Amero.
She has played shows across Canada including the CFL Banjo Bowl Halftime Show to over 33,000 screaming fans, joined Tim Hicks on his ‘Get Loud’ Tour and performed with country icon Patricia Conroy. She has also played festivals including Canadian Music Week, Canadian Country Music Week, Boots & Hearts pre-party, Dauphin CountryFest, Roger’s Hometown Hockey Festival and headlined the Manitoba Stampede. Along with this, she has opened for artists such as Jess Moskaluke, Doc Walker, Drake White, Alee, Blackjack Billy and Aaron Prichett, among others. During this time, her profile increased as she was interviewed by national media such as Sirius XM, Global TV, CBC and was featured in Top Country News, along with many other digital, radio and broadcast platforms. With over 330,000 streams on Spotify and more announcements on the way, Kendra Kay is quickly becoming Canada’s country girl.
Redwood – Neil Young
Alan Monstion has been playing music all of his adult life in a variety of cover and original bands, A multi-instrumentalist he delivers an acoustically pleasing presentation of Neil’s best performances.
Since its inception in 2014, redwood has been performing music from Neil’s entire career focused on his most popular material and some of his more unusual and lesser-known experimental offerings.
The British Icons
Free Ride is a band of many faces — The Stones, The Beatles, Sha Na Na and more — and will close down the man stage Saturday night with the expected high energy this Manitoba band always delivers.
This is a band that parents bring to their shows and kids bring their parents to hear all the classics from the Beatles and Stones’ catalogues.
The Portage Ex has packed its entertainment schedule with favourite local talent from Fireball Paul Shepherd, Susanne Bird, Northern Reflections, Gareth Rice and more. The three stages — Main, tent and MNP — will be busy. Mark your schedules and be sure to include the dancing performances.
FRIDAY, JULY 5, 2019
Nelson Little Band – 7:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Ross Roteliuk – 9:15 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Karaoke by Spectrum Sound – 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Paul Sheppard – 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Old Time Dance – Echo Valley Boys – 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
SATURDAY, JULY 6, 2019
Kendra Kay – 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Redwood – Neil Young – 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The British Icons – 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Taoist Tai-Chi – 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Spectrum Sound Music – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Gareth Rice – 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Susan Bird – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Waci-oyate Powwow – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2019
Boss/Chris Kitchen – 11:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Northern Reflections, Jason Appleyard & Little Bitty Steppers – 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Bubble Lab – 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Ryan Price Magic – 1:00 p.m. to 1:35 p.m.
Spectrum Sound Music – 2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Ryan Price Magic – 3:45 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.
Susan Bird / Gareth Rice – 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Old Time Dance – Highway 6 – 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Ryan Price Magic – 4:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Daily Livestock Events at the Horse & Cattle Rings:
Friday – 1 p.m. Portage Beef Club Achievement
Saturday – 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Beef Interclub
Market Lamb Class – 3:00 p.m.
Grand Champion Steer Competition – 3:30 p.m.
4-H Market Steer & Lamb Sale – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday – 4-H Females Competition – 10 a.m.
Mutton Busting – 11 a.m.
Alpaca Education – 11:30 a.m.
Open Breed Cattle Show – 2 p.m.
Jackpot Steer & Heifer – Following Open Show (4:30 p.m.)
Friday – 3D Barrel Racing – 7 p.m.
Saturday – Halter & Western Class Events – starting at 9 a.m.
Sheep Herding demos at 1:30 & 4:00 p.m.
Gymkhana Event – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday – Opening Western Reining – 9 a.m.
Mini Loonie Classes – 10:30 a.m.
Sheep Herding demo – 2 p.m.
Local & English Class Events – starting at 5:00 p.m.
Daily adult/youth is $10; weekend adult/youth is $25, kids 6 and under get in for free
Midway Hours of Operation
Wristbands and tickets are available at Midway ticket booths – $33 wristbands for Friday and Saturday and $25 for Family Day on Sunday when the midway is open from noon to 6 p.m.