When was the last time you took your family and friends to an agricultural fair?
The business of agriculture takes a lifetime to learn and for most of us that is not possible. For those of us raised in the city, we have a unique opportunity to learn more about the agricultural sector and their lifestyle through a number of various events and celebrations. One way is by attending agricultural fairs.
These agricultural fairs have a long history. There were two types of ancient fairs: trade shows and festivals. From the biblical “Fairs of Tyre” to Sturbridge Fair in medieval England, fairs were used as market places and carnivals. In the 1700’s the British crossed the agricultural improvement society with the traditional trade fair/carnival and agricultural fairs were born.
These agricultural fairs were transplanted to the colonies by the earliest British settlers, and the concept of fairs soon flourished in North America. In Canada, the first agricultural society was formed in 1765 in Nova Scotia. Ontario followed in 1792 with the Agricultural Society of Upper Canada based at Niagara-on-the-Lake. From the Ontario strongholds, the concept of agricultural fairs spread west with the early settlers.
The system of agricultural societies and their fairs spread all over Ontario in the 1800s. They were organized by county and township groups and at one time numbered over 500 in Ontario alone. While agricultural societies used many methods to improve agriculture and the rural lifestyle, their most enduring legacy was the agricultural fair.
Industrial exhibitions and festivals came and went, but the fairs carried on. Agricultural fairs soon became part of Ontario’s (and Canada’s) culture, and they remain a very important part of our present society.
Ontario fairs have changed since their inception, but they still carry on their mandate of promoting agriculture and the rural lifestyle.
Here is a list of agricultural fairs in our region. Most of these events are held later on in the year, but there are some early fairs you might want to know about. These fairs are listed in order according to their 2015 dates. For a list of all the Ontario agricultural fairs, you can go to this website: (www.ontariofairs.org)
Dresden Exhibition: July 31-Aug. 3
Ridgetown Fair: Aug. 1
Comber Fair: Aug. 7-9
Aylmer & East Elgin Fair: Aug. 7-9
Tillsonburg Fair: Aug. 13-16
Melbourne Fair: Aug. 15
Canadian National Exhibition: Aug. 21-Sept. 7
Shedden Fair: Aug. 22-23
Woodstock Fair: Aug. 27-30
Harrow Fair: September 3-6
Petrolia and Enniskillen Fair: Sept. 11-13
Western Fair, London: Sept. 11-20
Outdoor Farm Show, Woodstock: Sept. 15-17
Parkhill Fair: Sept. 17-20
Plympton-Wyoming Fair: Sept. 18-20
Rodney/Aldborough Fair: Sept. 18-20
International Plowing Match, Finch: Sept. 22-26
Drumbo Fair: Sept. 25-27
Forest Fair: Sept. 25-27
Glencoe Fair: Sept. 25-27
Thorndale Fair : Sept. 25-27
Highgate Fair: Sept. 26
Brooke Alvinston Fair : Oct. 2-4
Ilderton Fair: Oct. 2-4
Wallacetown Fair: Oct. 2-4
Brigden Fair: Oct. 9-12
Dorchester Fair: Oct. 9-12
If you have never attended any of these fairs in the past, why not try one or two out this year? You will find them exciting and informative for you, your children, grandchildren, or anyone else who enjoys fun, food, and learning more about our amazing agricultural sector.
Think about this – Lives rooted in God’s unchanging grace can never be uprooted.Just some food for thought.
Remember that here in Chatham-Kent ‘We Grow for the World’. Check out our community’s agricultural website – www.wegrowfortheworld.com
Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 40 years. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy’