The cooler weather we’ve had lately is a reminder that summer is coming to a close, which means it’s fall fair season!
Sure, there have been country fairs happening around the region for most of the summer, but three of the biggest are yet to come, starting with the Richmond Fair this weekend, followed by the Carp Fair next weekend and the Metcalfe Fair to round out September.
All have their roots in agriculture, which is as it should be, and all take pains to remember those roots while also catering to the modern urban family. Here’s what to expect if you go.
Richmond Fair (Sept. 12-16)
History: The Richmond Fair first began in 1844 as a fall festival showcasing rural cooking, crops, livestock and machinery. Agricultural societies used the festival as a sort of grand market where they could join resources, improve breeds of livestock, purchase specialized machinery and sell products from their kitchens, gardens, and farms. According to its website, “this cooperative spirit still exists” today with all rural fairs playing “an important role in exposing the general public to agricultural practices.”
Highlights: Live entertainment, antique displays, agriculture shows, a demolition derby, rock climbing, midway, parade, cowboy obstacle race and more. Be sure to catch the RCMP Musical Ride on Sept. 12.
Carp Fair (Sept. 20-23)
History: Slightly younger than the Richmond Fair, the Carp Fair began in 1863. It was a major event for the township with people coming from far and wide to show their animals and produce. It still has a deep commitment to its rural roots, with agriculture shows and exhibits making up a large portion of the events. "It was the biggest thing that happened around here as a kid," says Peg Blair, who wrote a book about the fair marking its 150th anniversary.
Highlights: Live entertainment, midway, demolition derby, antique tractor parade, dog shows, kids rodeo and much more. Fridays are a pay-one-price bracelet day for the rides.
Metcalfe Fair (Sept. 27-30)
History: It’s been held annually since 1856. Originally intended to rotate through the townships of Gloucester, Osgoode, Russell, and Cumberland each year, the fair found a permanent home in the Village of Metcalfe in 1861. It aims to promote life skills, agricultural awareness and education to urban and rural communities while providing a venue for farmers and others to compete and trade exhibitions.
Highlights: A demolition derby, live music, baby show, children’s entertainment in the Kidzland Tent, midway and a Western Horse Show. The Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup will be on display Sept. 30.