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New members inducted into Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame

David Coombes were chosen from Nova Scotia
BIBLE HILL, N.S.
 
Diane Daniels remembers David Coombes as a man with a lot of knowledge and skills.
 
Coombes, who managed the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition (NSPE), Hants County Exhibition, and Atlantic Winter Fair, died earlier this year, but on Oct. 18 he was celebrated when he became one of the latest inductees into the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame.
 
“He knew exhibitions inside and out,” said Daniels, who worked with him at the NSPE office during the mid-2000s. “He knew, not only the agricultural end but also entertainment. He had contacts and know who to go to.”
 
Coombes grew up working on his family’s dairy farm, and taking part in 4-H activities, in Upper Falmouth.
 
He studied at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, and at Macdonald College, McGill University. Keeping with the agricultural theme, he married Frances Davis, who had edged him out as Grand Champion Showman at the 4-H cattle show in 1960.   
 
He managed the Hants County Exhibition for 53 years, and Daniels remembers him working in the NSPE’s Bible Hill office during the morning and in Windsor during the afternoon on some days.
 
“He could run two exhibitions, and have them both different,” she said. “He would have schedules in his head and could think on his feet. He could think outside of the box and he had a great work ethic. He really was ahead of his time.”
 
He managed the Atlantic Winter Fair, in Halifax, for 34 years. During that time, he developed Nova Scotia’s first casino and introduced a major lottery, Ex Hi Lotto, in the 1970’s. Under his leadership, the fair hosted the $100,000 DuMaurier Cup, bringing world-class show jumpers to Halifax, and in the 1980s, he oversaw the building of Exhibition Park.
 
He also served as President of the Livestock Council of Nova Scotia, and President of the Nova Scotia Hereford Breeders.
 
Daniels said Coombes had no problem telling people what he wanted and could get what he wanted without using harsh words.
 
“I learned a lot from him and enjoyed working with him,” she added. “I wish he’d stayed with the NSPE longer. I could have learned a lot more from him.”
 
Coombes previously won several awards, including National Fair Manager of the Year, and was inducted into the Canadian Association of Fair and Exhibitions Roll of Honour.
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