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This article first appeared in the May 30, 2018 issue of the The Low Down to Hull and Back News.External Link Reprinted with permission. Search complete list of Low Down Articles.

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It takes a village to raise a barn

By Nicole McCormick

Fairbairn barn
Luc Brazeau, Ken Walsh, Glen Oliver, Derrick Oliver, and Michael Cooper take a quick break while putting together the new Fairbairn House heritage barn last year. Photo courtesy Fairbairn House Heritage centre.

While farmers back in the 1800s were able to raise a barn in just a few short days, in modern times, the process isn't so streamlined.

A case in point is Fairbairn House Heritage Centre's brand new barn, which took around 2,000 volunteer hours to construct.

The process of constructing the barn, which was built to house exhibits that showcase agriculture in the region, started in 2016 when volunteers began dismantling and salvaging lumber from two donated barns. All the pieces were then stored for the winter and transported back to Fairbairn House come spring when the official barn raising began. By December 2017, the barn was finally complete.

The project was funded by a crowdfunding campaign through the National Trust for Canada and raised $10,000 in just seven short weeks, which caused Fairbairn House president Michael Cooper to feel "shock, horror, amazement, delight."

Fairbairn barn
The now complete barn will house museum exhibits that showcase local agriculture. Photo courtesy Fairbairn House Heritage centre.

Now that all the dirty work is over with and the barn is finished, celebrations are in order. And since you only really get to open a barn once, two events will be held to mark the occasion.

Fairbairn barn
Volunteers spent around a year putting together the new barn that was made from two historic donated barns from the region. Photo courtesy Fairbairn House Heritage centre.

First will be the official opening on June 9 which will also serve as the official launch of a new exhibit, 'Where does our food come from?' (See separate story). The private reception to be held in Hendrick Park from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. will have wine and hors d'oeuvres along with guided tours of the new barn and the food exhibit as well as entertainment by local musicians. The event is also meant to serve as a fundraiser to help Fairbairn turn the barn into a fully-equipped museum, so tickets are priced at $100 per person and can be purchased online at www.fairbairn.ca.

Wooden plaques engraved with family names will also be made available for $50 and will be permanently mounted in the barn to represent the 'Friends of Fairbairn.'

The second event will be a family day on June 10 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. complete with a picnic, games for kids, and a performance by the Fieldville String Band. A time capsule will also be buried on the grounds. Admission is $10 at the gate for adults, while children can attend for free.

For more information, call 819-778-3382 or email info@fairbairn.ca.