While there used to be as many as eight fairs active in Lambton County, that number has decreased to the remaining five: Plympton and Wyoming; Petrolia and Enniskillen; Brigden; Forest; and Brooke and Alvinston. Taking place over roughly a month's span from early September to October, fall fairs give local residents an opportunity to celebrate achievements and spend time with neighbours. These activities have been going on in Lambton County for over 150 years. Allow me to provide you with some information about the interesting histories of Lambton's fall fairs!
|The Brigden Fair is now a four-day event|
|Prize List, 1889|
Forest had its first fair in 1870 at the corner of Broadway and Main Street; it was later moved to a drill shed. In 1874, twelve acres of land were purchased at the south-west corner of the town. This would be named the Forest Pleasure Park and served as fair grounds until the present park was bought in 1909. Early Forest fairs emphasized livestock but had prizes for bread, maple sugar and other culinary arts.
|Poster for the Forest Fair|
Other fairs that are no longer running have equally interesting histories. The Florence agricultural society dates back to 1863. They held their first fair in 1910 after purchasing a white frame barn that was renovated with two wings and an upstairs area to form a Crystal Palace. A driving track was added in 1911, and in 1913 Fansher Church was purchased for $75.00, and the lumber was used to construct a grandstand. Thedford's society was organized even earlier in 1859. Tradition says fairs were held on the ridge road a few miles west of town but no records can confirm. When a fair was held on October 1, 1889, there was more than two feet of snow on the ground!
Fair season is now upon us, so be sure to get out to your fair and support the local community. The season kicks off with the Petrolia and Enniskillen Fall Fair September 9 and 10. The County of Lambton's Cultural Services Division will have a booth at all the upcoming fairs, so visit us to learn all about the county's libraries, museums and galleries! See you there.