Throughout the 80's and into the early 90's, the Oakbank town fair was known as "The Great Canadian Chicken Derby". This event, put on by the local Lions Club, became a much beloved fair in June featuring ...yes, Chicken races.
Led by the dynamic and comical Marcel Sicotte otherwise known as the Chicken Man, people would come from all over Manitoba and as far as Minneapolis to race chickens. This fair boasted a parade, traveling casino, local showcases, entertainment and an all around great time.
Sadly, with the Lions Club down in members, the fair ended as did the chicken races. The Springfield Kinsmen Club stepped in to continue a summer fair and named it "The Taste of Springfield" which featured the fair backdrop of a carnival and midway, but also highlighted the local restaurants and their food. A number of locals would still call the summer event the Chicken Derby, yet there were no chickens. This then turned into "Springfield Days" which ran for several years and grew into a great
annual event offering a lot of great fun.
By 2008, the fair was struggling a little and due to bad weather, the ball tournament was cancelled. A few ball players decided to have fun and found a few chickens, which they raced in a front yard on Main Street in Oakbank and this drew a crowd of people.
Meanwhile, a local volunteer who had been helping the Kinsmen noted that the Chicken Derby should be brought back as it was the town "branding" and the community needed something fitting of the fast growing town of Oakbank and surrounding areas.
On the other side of town, another local had also been talking about this. A mutual friend brought the two together and the committee ADHOC (Anola, Dugald, Hazelridge, Oakbank, and Cooks Creek) was formed. With a couple more Executive members, a whole lot of friends and family, ADHOC launched the RM of Springfield Chickendaze in 2009.
The inaugural Chickendaze tried to establish a modern look with great Sponsorship from local businesses, a Main Stage bandstand, parade, ball tournament, and beer garden. Although there was no midway, the fair went off with a bang!
People "flocked" to this event and the beloved "Chickens were back". Over the years, the ADHOC committee has grown in Executive and Committee members and now in 2020 will present the 12th Annual Springfield Chickendaze event with a new look for the website, Select Shows Midway, a larger Parade, Great Main stage Entertainment, Blender Barn, Wing eating contest,Vendor Village, Games, Petting Zoo,Orthodox Ball Tournament, Local Entertainment, Children’s Tent, Beer Garden, and of course Specialty, Fun, and Sponsored Chicken races.
A strong Mission and Vision Statement of bringing the fun back to Springfield, the clever advertising campaign, the addition of specialized committee and subcomittee members, the "Amazing Sponsors", the generosity of the Oakbank Community Club and many dedicated volunteers have made our event very successful, allowing ADHOC to donate some assistance funding, and take part in other community events.
12 years and growing!
We promise to strengthen and grow this fair and to keep the feathers flying!