Thoughts of a Fall Fair in Coldwater began in 1893 but the first Fair was actually held Thursday and Friday, September 27 & 28, 1894. William Drue Lovering was elected as the first president.
At this time the fairgrounds were located along the Coldwater River on land where the Graymore Inn and the Brewer’s Retail are now situated.
Known then as the Huronia Agricultural Society, it did not have buildings on the property, but did have a third-of-a-mile race track.
The first exhibition was held at ‘Manning Hall’ (which was across the river now Home Hardware’s Parking lot) on Thursday and Friday, September 27th and 28th. Horse racing was a popular drawing card. A midway was non-existant in the beginning but eventually a merry-go-round, motivated by horse power was provided.
The building of the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks through the village divided the fairgrounds, making it necessary to relocate to the Palace Rink building on Robinson Street, in 1913.
A quarter-mile racetrack was built with a roofed grandstand for the spectators to watch the sulky races, as well as the cattle and heavy horse judging.
In 1950, the name was changed to the Huronia Fall Fair and a school fair was included.
Children from three local public schools march in costume in the Friday afternoon parade, while all public school children are invited to enter in the various youth competitions.
The Fall Fair has had several homes, but now resides at the Village-owned fair grounds, next to the community centre in the heart of the Village.
The exhibits were shown in the Palace Rink until its condemnation and demolition and it was at this time approximately 1967, an agreement was signed between the Village of Coldwater and the Agricultural Society, governing the use of the Village fairgrounds, by the Society, for a period of 99 years. The society is entitled to free use of the fairgrounds and community centre for a period of 15 days per annum.
With more activities added each year, the number of fair days was increased to 3 in the early 1980’s and the horse racing was discontinued.
Following the restructuring of the Village and surrounding townships to become the Township of Severn, a new agreement was signed in 1992 with the period established at 75 years.
In 1992 a large cattle barn was built by volunteers. Several portable grandstands have been added and in 1997 drainage tiles were placed throughout the grounds.
The Little Red Barn houses the pets/poultry is at the south-west end of the fairgrounds. All the tables for display, as well as the stages are stored in the building between fairs.
When you visit the Fair, now known as the Coldwater & District Agricultural Society, you will find something to interest everyone.
There are cattle and horse shows, goats, sheep, as well as tractor pulls and horse pulls. Crafts fill the arena while a bountiful flower show adds colour. Antiques & Collectibles display attracts people young & old with fascination. The juniors certainly display so many exhibits and it’s wonderful to see how many of our Juniors participate.There are approximately 50 different classes.
The Directors of the Society strive to keep in touch and aware of the Village and our Agricultural Heritage.