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Durham Agricultural Society Durham Fall Fair Durham Fall Fair Durham Fall Fair Durham Fall Fair
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ABOUT US

The Durham Agricultural Society has a long and rich history within the town of Durham and surrounding communities. It was established in 1858 under the name South Grey Agricultural Society and by an act of Parliament, the Society's name was officially changed on April 26, 1934 to the current name of Durham Agricultural Society. Agricultural societies are Ontario's oldest organizations and were established before the Government. As settlers moved into the Grey and Bruce Counties, they established their homesteads and planted their crops. A highlight for them was the fall season when the men would gather to exhibit and display their year's produce and thus the Fall Fairs were born.

Over the years, the Durham Fall Fair has been held in several locations throughout this town: at the old Drill Shed in Upper Town, on the face of the hill on Garafraxa Street which is now an entrance to the Saugeen Valley Conservation Park, in a building at the corner of Lambton and Garafraxa Streets and in Moody's barn near the foot of the hill. Near Moody's barn was an open field enclosed by a rail fence which was known as the Fair Grounds. The Fairs were next held on the east side of Bruce Street between Lambton and George Street West and finally in 1879, the Fair moved to the present location on Saddler Street West. The current arena is the third set of buildings to house the Fair. In 1890, the Society purchased the current property from the estate of the late Thomas Brown for a sum of $150.00. During the late 1800's the grounds were improved and more space was provided for the showing of horses. Further purchases of land included the hill and part of the flats. The "hill" provided a natural grandstand for the many visitors, overlooking the race track and flats below. At a later date, a covered and seated grandstand was erected at the foot of the hill opposite the starting point and finishing line of the race track. Later, hen houses and cattle sheds were erected, but stand no longer. In 1890, the addition of a half mile race track was built.

In 1952, the members of the Durham Agricultural Society agreed to turn over their property to the town of Durham for the sum of $1.00 as a site for its new Community Centre. In return, the Agricultural Society was granted the use of the grounds including the new building for eight days each year. Throughout the history of the fair, many events have been featured: the Saugeen Valley Steeplechase, a Fleece Wool Show, a Regional Sheep Show, a Jersey Parish Show, 4-H Calf and Swine Clubs, Pet Shows, Beauty Pageant, Skipping contests, Cream and Butter Commercial Features, Goat Show, Saddle, Heavy and Light Horses, Jr. Calf Club, and 4-H Horse Club, just to name a few, as well as the usual field crop, livestock, and homecraft divisions.

The Society has had many volunteers throughout its history. From 1917 - 1918 the Durham Agricultural Society was honoured to have William Scarf elected as President of the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies. In 1954, Anna Koehler served as President of the Homecraft section of the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies. Jack Milligan was OAAS District 10 Agricultural director from 1998 - 2000.

In the early years, the local schools closed for the fair and the Furniture Factory also closed for half a day. At the 100th anniversary of the Fair, centennial gates were erected by the Durham Agricultural Society and placed at the entrance to the Community Centre. The gates serve to remind us of the dedication and foresight of former Presidents and Directors. A Provincial grant of $1,000.00 was received for this purpose. The unveiling and dedication service was held in conjunction with the 1958 Fall Fair.

Over the years, the Fair has seen many changes and challenges. In 1995 an "Evening Out" was introduced featuring a delicious roast beef dinner and entertainment by the Paul Brothers and Shirley. This event was established in order to raise funds for the Society and with its success it has become an annual event held in May of each year at the Community Centre. This is a function that many people look forward to. It also serves for the unveiling of the beautiful homemade quilt that to be raffled in the Annual Quilt Draw for the Fall Fair weekend. Each year, as we celebrate another Fall Fair and another anniversary of the Durham Agricultural Society, we look back with pride and gratitude to all those who served the Society diligently. It is from their dedication that our Society today is healthy and active. We are looking forward to seeing everyone at the Fair!

President's Message

Dear friends,
It feels like forever since we did anything remotely normal.  UGH!....I miss PEOPLE!
Even though 2021 marks another year of not producing the Durham Fall Fair, the Ag Society is still working behind the scenes. Our hope as of now (June) is to have 'something'.  We plan to call it the Fair Weekend Celebration.  Please watch for upcoming notices of contest & events to be COVID-19 safe and socially distanced.  Our 50/50 draw will be introduced soon, and a potential $20,000.00 grand prize awaits!  We will keep you posted!!
Until then- stay safe! stay connected!  We all look forward to better days!
Remember we care- even though there's no Fair.

Most Sincerely,
Debbie Tucker
Durham Agricultural Society
President

OFFICERS FOR 2021

PAST PRESIDENT: Dave Arnett, 369-3894
PRESIDENT: Debbie Tucker, 369-2267
FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT: Andrea Watson, 369-5807
SECOND VICE-PRESIDENT: Donna Clark, 369-5848
SECRETARY: Janice Dick, 369.1227
TREASURER: Carolin Banjavcic, 378-6562
RECORDING SECRETARY:Donna Clark, 369-5848
HONORARY DIRECTORS: Jeanne Leese, Jack Milligan

DIRECTORS

Sage Aulthouse, Real Desaulniers, Sharon Carmount, Matthew Dick, Gladys Foster, Robin Gingerich, Riley Hastie, Sally Hyett, Corrie Martin, Michelle Matheson, Gabrielle Moore, Natalie Nixon, Wayne Pfeffer, Ally Spielmacher, Alanna Tucker, Cory Tucker, David Tucker, Sarah Dick (junior director), Amber James (junior director), Lily Jarvis (junior director), Victoria Jarvis (junior director),


2019/2020 DURHAM FALL FAIR SENIOR AMBASSADOR

Riley Hastie

Riley HastieAlthough these past couple years were not at all what I imagined as being the Durham Ag Society’s Senior Ambassador, I did partake in quite a few events.

I attended the 2019 Dundalk fair where I got to congratulate some fellow ambassadors, I went to a fire truck pull at Country Corner(2019), made wreaths with our ambassador committee(2019), helped out at the first annual Ag society dessert thank you night at the arena(2019), lighting of the tree that the town puts on(2019), Christmas parades, dropped the puck at the thunder cats home opener in 2019, handed out awards at the Durham dairy 4-H achievement night(2019). Got the opportunity to go to a district 4 meeting where we visited a bee farm and robotic dairy farm.

I also attended the OAAS 2020 convention where I got to meet a lot of my fellow senior ambassadors which I am so grateful for as that was one of the last “normal” events that occurred. March 2020 just before covid hit Ontario, I got to watch the Durham skating clubs 50th anniversary carnival that Elvis Stojko skated at.

I also participated and showed the agricultural society’s appreciation to front line and essentials workers in a drive around town parade to thank them for all they have done throughout this pandemic. I got to show support and congratulate the spruce ridge community schools grade 8 grads at a graduation parade they put on back in the summer(2020).

I have been trying to attend as many covid friendly events that I can to show that the Ag Society is always there to support our little town and in hopes they will support us when we are able to have a fair once again!

Thank you so much,
Riley Hastie, Senior Ambassador

2019/2020 DURHAM FALL FAIR JUNIOR AMBASSADOR

Sarah Dick

Hello,

Sarah DickMy name is Sarah Dick and I am the 2019 - present Durham Fall Fair Junior Ambassador. This year has been very full of surprises. In 2019, I had the opportunity to go to a few other fairs in our district, and the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. At Christmas, there was the Durham Christmas parade, and distributing donation letters to wonderful local businesses. Then the pandemic started, everything was shut down and the fair was cancelled. To help keep people's spirits afloat in Durham, the "Durham Rocks" campaign was started. Throughout this pandemic the DAS office has always had a fantastic window display, that is sometimes interactive! One of my favourite displays is the "Looking Back on Durham Fall Fairs Past", where I found out what life was like many years ago! The people of Durham are wonderful, and really like pie! We have had 3 very successful pie fundraisers that will help keep our office up and running!

I cannot wait for our lovely fair, and to see all our awesome people!

- Sarah Dick, Junior Ambassador