For Amanda Stott, performing at the 107th Royal Manitoba Winter Fair is like a big family reunion.
"It’s wonderful to be home," the blonde singer told a large crowd from the main stage inside the Keystone Centre’s Convention Hall Tuesday afternoon. "It’s already been 18 years since I last performed here."
The last time the Brandon-born singer performed at the Manitoba Winter Fair was when she was 13 years old. Stott grew up on a farm just outside of Brandon, but moved when she turned 18. The new mother to a nine-month-old boy is now living just outside Chicago with her husband, who is also performing with her at the fair twice daily until Saturday.
"It’s kind of like a whole new stage of life for me, being a new mom … so getting ready for shows this time around was a little different."
Although it has been years since she lived in Brandon, she still refers to the Wheat City as home.
"It just feels great to be back in Brandon with my family and to be able to play some new stuff for people," Stott said. "It’s always great to come home and everyone in Brandon has always been so supportive of me."
With three albums under her belt spanning country, pop and Christian genres, Stott has plenty of old and new material to share with music fans at her afternoon and evening shows at this year’s fair. Stott said her favourite part about singing at the fair is the crowd.
"You got the kids, every age is involved ... it’s really cool to play for such a vast variety," she said. "They have such great entertainment here for everybody, so it’s just nice to be a part of it."
Stott said she’s currently collecting songs for a new country album she hopes to record sometime this year. She said choosing to go back to her country roots was an easy decision.
"I feel like I’ve tried everything and now I want to go back to something that I miss," she said. "Country music is such a great environment, and it would just be nice to get back in the studio and go back to what I grew up listening to."
Also performing twice daily at Westman Place are the SuperDogs.
During Tuesday’s afternoon show, animal lovers were glued to a group impressive canines as they weaved through poles, caught frisbees mid-air and cleared high jumps over the course of a nearly one-hour show.
Among the trainers and their dogs from across Canada is Brandon’s own Melanie Hart and her five-year-old golden retriever, Whisky. This is Hart’s 12th year performing with SuperDogs at the Winter Fair.
"The show has gotten a little more active, we certainly do a lot of stuff in an hour, but it’s always been really good," Hart said while feeding Whisky a well-deserved treat. "The fair is always our favourite because we’re local and we definitely have a lot of crowd support here and the dogs love the attention."
The Royal Manitoba Winter Fair continues today, with jumping beginning at 9 a.m.
THIS EVENING’S SCHEDULE
(6:30 p.m. start)
• Opening Ceremonies
• Prairie Dodge Dealers Dog/Horse Relay
• Ladies Cart (Heavy)
• Miss Piggy Scramble
• Canadian Tire Barrel Racing
• Mini Chuck Wagon Races
• Hackney Pony Pleasure (Open)
• Six Horse Tandem Team
• Royal Fiddlers’ Contest
(7 p.m. in Amphitheatre)
CIBC IMPERIAL EXPERIENCE
• Today, you get to be a farmer. Your chores will include milking a real goat and feeding some baby animals.
• Every day, starting at
1 p.m., Doodles the Clown, Razzmatazz,
Ted Outerbridge: Pure Illusion and Amanda Stott share the entertainment stage, wrapping up at 9 p.m.
For a comprehensive map of the fair site and a full events list, visit BrandonSun.com and scroll down to "See What’s Happening At The Winter Fair."
» Brandon Sun