The Erin Agricultural Society has been a strong citizen, a pillar—or shall we say farm fence post, of the Erin and area community since 1850. Originally sponsored and fostered by the Canadian government in the 1840s and 1850s, the intent of agricultural societies was to educate farmers in new agricultural techniques with the goal of raising prosperity within the agricultural sector.
Today, the goal and mandate of the Erin Agricultural Society is to create awareness and to foster education about agriculture, farming and country life. The Erin Fall Fair is proud to be in the heart of the Erin community, and in the heart (and country soul) of locals who have supported and partnered with the E.A.S. over 164 years. The result of the long term friendship has resulted in the building of one of the very best Fairs around, and ‘Ontario’s preview to the Royal (Royal Winter Fair, in Toronto). Newspaper articles from the 1930’s commented that first time visitors would sometimes ask: How do they do it? or It’s a miniature C.N.E.! (Canadian National Exhibition)/
Since it’s beginning days (which in 1850 drew up to 3,500 visitors), local businesses, town residents, farmers and agri-based organizations have backed the Fair providing services, hard goods, sweat-equity (work!) and cash donations—which is reinvested into the EAS to host the Fair and to maintain the property and buildings.
For many years the Erin Fair has been the reason to smile and the place of good memories for all the family. However February of 1994, twenty years ago, this was not the case. A devastating fire swept through the main Fair building, burning it to the ground. Students at Erin Public School had to be evacuated because the fire was so hot. Everything was gone.
Almost immediately a campaign was put in place to raise the necessary funds to rebuild. Fairboard Directors went door to door, throughout the area, asking for donations, selling car raffle tickets and cookbooks. Any donor giving $50 or more got their name inscribed on a leaf on the LEAF tree. (Let’s Enjoy Another Fair). The Homecraft cookbook was so popular, it had to be re-ordered three times!
So, in 1994, as in every other year since 1850, the Erin Fair went ahead on Thanksgiving Weekend as scheduled. Opening Ceremonies and the Ambassador Contest were staged at the Eriin Legion, and Homecraft Exhibits were showcased at the current Erin Public School (the former EDHS building). Based on recollections from past Presidents, many other local Fairs (Orangeville, Acton, Bolton, and Caledon) were not only happy to lend their showcases and displays—they also delivered them, along with volunteers to help set things up. The weatherman co-operated with 4 days of sunshine and there was a shuttle bus set up between the high school and the Fairgrounds. There was even a turkey dinner for volunteers, served on Monday night. By all accounts it was a Fair to remember.
The Erin Fair is wonderful patchwork of kids, chickens, goats, sheep and quilts. On Thanksgiving Weekend, volunteers and farmers make their way to the Fairgrounds just as the sun is rising to prepare their show cattle, compete with their horses and to bake apple dumplings. Kids (big and small) come early on Saturday morning for Uncle Ben’s pet show—where the most entertaining action just might be watching the kids squeeze their dog or cat into a special costume. We now host The Giant Pumpkin Contest on Thursday night, and open the midway for fun and games. Special attractions and new entertainment each year ensures a wonderful experience for all.
The EAS Fairgrounds is also the venue for the EAS Farmers’ Market, now in its 3rd year. The Market runs rain or shine—every Friday evening from June until late September. Other events include the Demo Derby (this year on Saturday July 12 at 1pm), and renting the grounds, horse rings and buildings, out for special events, horse competitions and dog shows.
EAS future plans include developing a long-term strategic plan whereby the EAS will continue to engage the community, develop programs creating agricultural awareness supporting agri-based foods, skills, lifestyle and animal education. EAS will strive to maintain its important and relevant position in the heart of the Erin and area community….and host a great little Fair every Thanksgiving Weekend, just as we have for the last 164 years!
To get involved as a Fair Partner or to volunteer for a few hours on Fair Weekend, please call the Erin Agricultural Office at: 519.833.2808 or email