History of the Beef & Barley Festival in Russell, Manitoba

As apple blossoms are to Morden, Ukrainian culture to Dauphin, and turtles to Boissevain - so is Beef and Barley to Russell, Manitoba. No other area can rightfully challenge the proud boast of the Banner County of Manitoba, which for close to a century has been outstanding for its agricultural products and the many national and international awards provide ample proof. First settled in the late eighteen seventies and early eighteen eighties, the Russell District came to prominence in 1893 when at the Winnipeg Industrial Exhibition it received the "Banner" presented by Lord Strathcona for the most entries of the highest quality in livestock and produce. This award of some ninety years now occupies a prominent place of honor in the foyer of the Russell and District Library for all to see what a former Governor-General once commented on - "As many in the country claim theirs as a banner area - but Russell, Manitoba is the only place with an all important banner to prove it."

This high quality of farm production has been maintained through the years with special emphasis on the beef breeding industry and barley growing. So in this modern age of festivals, what could be a more appropriate event for the Russell area than a Beef and Barley Festival. The first one was held in 1973 and it's success has lead the Russell and District Chamber of Commerce to set a permanent date for the festival as the week prior to Thanksgiving weekend in October. The festival dates in October are filled with various events for all ages.