Brussels' Perrie honoured with province-wide photography award
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Joan Perrie of Brussels has been honoured provincially as the winner of the people’s choice photography award at the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies’ annual conference late last month.
Perrie is the unofficial photographer for the Brussels Agricultural Society, namely documenting the Brussels Fall Fair year after year. The award-winning photograph was taken in 2006 during a particularly rainy fair parade. It features Don McNeil’s famous parade car, a staple of the Brussels Fall Fair parade for decades.
In an interview with The Citizen, Perrie said that, to her, the picture represents family, agriculture and community involvement.
Ahead of the competition, directors of the Brussels Fall Fair chose the picture to be entered into the competition. Perrie didn’t choose it herself, but the fair directors felt it represented the village well.
As part of the competition among the agricultural societies within District 8 of Ontario, Perrie’s photograph was one of several that was up for voting. In the end, after receiving over 1,000 votes, Perrie’s photograph was named the winner.
It then moved on to the next stage, in which it took on winners from other districts, inviting those attending the conference to vote on their favourite and it was chosen then as well as the people’s choice award winner.
Perrie has been interested in photography for as long as she can remember. She is now a member of the Maitland Valley Camera Club and she certainly has more time for the hobby since she retired in the late 1990s.
Beginning her teaching career in North York, she taught there for 10 years before marrying her husband David. When she moved to Huron County, she continued teaching, spending time in Exeter before the last eight years of her career at Brussels Public School, which has since closed.
The Perries have been members of the Brussels Agricultural Society for decades, even handing out an annual award in their name. Being an amateur shutterbug, she was always taking pictures at the Brussels Fall Fair or the annual Ambassador competition, and soon enough it was almost as if she had an unofficial job documenting the society’s work every year.
She loves taking pictures at the fair every year, with many of the children’s activities serving as her favourites. While Perrie’s award-winning effort was from the parade, she likes taking pictures of the face-painting, the 4-H competition and the educational program best.
As for the competition, Perrie says she was very happy when she found out she had won. To have that many people from Brussels vote for her photograph, she said, made her quite proud.
It’s also nice to have the winning photograph be of McNeil’s parade car, she said. So much so that she hopes future awards will take into account the story behind the photograph, because the story behind McNeil’s car is as interesting as how it looks.
The car is a 1928 Model A Ford that has been at over 60 Brussels Fall Fairs and countless other local parades and events.