At 134 years of summer fun at the fair

By Sarah Wallace
July 16, 2017 - 4:00pm

This year marks the 134 anniversary of the Prince Albert Summer Fair and the event has a dynamic history.

When it began over a century ago, it was known as The Lorne Agricultural Society Fair, and being the 1800s, the fair didn’t quite look like it does today.

Formed in 1883, the Lorne Agricultural Society had 84 members and it was the North's first agricultural society. In 1905, the society was renamed the Prince Albert Agricultural Society.

This same year, some growth was seen at the exhibition grounds. At the cost of just $3,000, the Octagonal Building was constructed by contractor Andrew Holmes. Following its construction, the building was used during annual summer fairs to host the Ladies’ Section, Daily Produce and Agriculture, grains, grasses and horticulture, as well as dances.

Fast forward 66 years and the society would be renamed the Prince Albert Exhibition Association. By this time the association has more than doubled its membership, boasting around 110 people. The association is the oldest continuing agricultural society in the province.

Michelle Taylor, curator at the Prince Albert Historical Museum, said in the beginning, the fair was more of an agricultural show.

“People could put in knitting and other handy house work, flowers, vegetables, and of course the animals, so they would all be judged and they would all have prizes. I think of it as old school, more small town type of fair than it is today,” Taylor said.

The event saw kids submit vegetable people to be judged and in 1984, bacon was introduced as a judging category. This tradition continues today.

Linda Grimard, president of the Prince Albert Exhibition Association, said this year will see some old favourites return alongside some new attractions.

"For the first time in a long time, we have a music performance on the grandstand with Cash Back, a tribute to Johnny Cash,” Grimard said.

The main attraction will be the Nerveless Nocks Thrill Show. Grimard said they do all kinds of stunts, including riding motorbikes inside of a steel cage.

All the all favourites are back, including West Coast Amusements bringing a midway full of rides. There will be a demolition derby, petting zoo, chuck waggon races and of course, a wide variety of food.

The entertainment will run from Aug. 1 to 5 and kick off with the annual parade at 7 p.m. on July 31.

 

swallace@panow.com

On Twitter/Instagram: @sarahthesquid 

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