By T. Rogers Gardham
“Fiddler on the Roof”, the highly popular musical being performed to great plaudits this Season at Stratford is all about tradition, coping with change and how precarious life can be. Fall fairs are a tradition around the globe, in Canada and particularly in Ontario. Sponsored by agricultural societies formed under a Provincial Act, fall fairs began to appear in the early 19th Century in Ontario for the purpose of improving early farm production through competitions in crops, farm animals and quality of lifestyle. Markham Fair traces its roots back to 1844.
Once again, after 169 years, Markham Fair, located on the north-east corner of McCowan & Elgin Mills roads, will once again welcome fair-goers, spectators and competitors, from Thursday October 3 until Sunday October 6 inclusive. With diversity in entertainment, Markham Fair bills itself as having, as a takeaway, “something for the whole family” and being situated on 104 acres there is lots of parking area.
With its tradition of saluting and celebrating agricultural and farming, combined with entertainment, Markham Fair is an exciting opportunity for viewing a variety of competitions, tractor and horse pulls, with sounds and action of “power” on display, or the more gentler action of large “Heavy Horse Hitches” show, moving in rhythmic sequence, pulling large colourful wagons. And in the infield area enjoy dressage events with “Light Horse” riding and carriages of a bygone era. Or if you prefer smaller animals calves, piglets, bunnies and chicks in more or less natural surroundings visit Old MacDonald’s Barn or the Poultry and Livestock pavilions. Almost around every corner you’ll see some competition to delight your eye.
The General Exhibits and Homecraft buildings are also a sight to behold with farm produce, photo and school exhibits together with Arts & Craft shows, mouthwatering baking and preserves, respectively. Unforgettable! Commercial exhibits are both indoors and outdoors featuring a diverse array of products and demonstrations. Added to this are a complete menu of delectable foods; fairgoers will tell you no trip is complete without a taste of “fair fare”. Many of the commercial outlets are sponsored by local service clubs and charities which use Markham Fair as an “opportunity” to support their community work.
As you and your family “tour” the fairgrounds there will be many demonstrations and attractions and it is important that you visit: www.markhamfair.ca/ to get a full picture of events for when it bills itself “Canada’s largest 4 Day Fair” it truly means it and shows it in its entertainment features led by Worlds Finest Shows Midway, Monster Truck Show and Rides, Demolition Derby, Teen Talent Show, Baby Contest, Giant Fireworks, Jazz Vineyard & Corral, Live Country and Rock Bands, Baby Contest, and Silver Elvis to name but a few.
Markham Fair is and has been since its beginning a meeting place for people in its surrounding communities. Many local residents in their later years boast of having never missed a Fair, having made their first visit in mother’s/father’s arms. Some even state after years of successful marriage their first date was at Markham Fair. So for many visitors the Fair is really a “Homecoming”, which is the Fair’s theme this year. By the way the Fair is organized and operated annually by over 700 volunteers, so this year you might want to stop at some of the displays, ask a question or just say “Thanks”.
And while you’re about it maybe you can make Markham Fair your family tradition.