What’s the Deal with Fall Fairs?

Growing up we always knew that summer was coming to a close when the local Fall Fair rolled into Town. I grew up in a growing city called Brampton and the Fall Fair comes with farm animals, arts and crafts, carnival rides and carnival eats. Along with the Fair usually means warmer clothing, comfort food and back to school supplies. I still remember by first Fall Fair in Brampton; I was the new girl in school in grade 6 and went with my Mom, Stepfather and little sister. I remember some of the girls from my grade asked me to ride the Ferris wheel with them and my Mom encouraged me to make friends; which I did. Thanks Mom for looking out.  Now that I am an adult (sort of?) and living in a different city with my spouse I notice that most Ontario communities have their own way of celebrating the fall and they all usually start with a Fair. I am now super curious about why? Where did the concept of a Fall Fair originate and seriously, what’s the deal?

It should come as no surprise that Fall Fairs begin and end with farmers. In the late 1800’s farmers would come together at the end of harvest and chat about the hits and misses of their agriculture experiences throughout the season.  Usually there were friendly competitions (think biggest pumpkin) and always a focus on community grown and made products. I recently decided to go back to my roots and attended two fall fairs; Brampton and Burlington.

Brampton had many things to do and see as well as kept the foundations of fall fair traditions intact. They had local products for sale, arts and craft competitions (complete with blue ribbon winners), farm animals (totally pet a bunny) and provided the overall atmosphere of what one would expect from this kind of event. A sort of ‘simpler time’ vibe but with carnival rides and a Beaver Tail stand.

Burlington’s Applefest was a much smaller venue. It was quaint and less like a traditional fall fair. Set at The Ireland House Museum; a preserved home of a founder of the area. There were many booths focusing on local vendors, a row of antique cars,  a hay maze and pony rides for the kids. The event had a very small town feel and is definitely geared towards families and children.

If learning about your community is something that you are interested in, I would recommend visiting your local fall fair. If you want the nitty gritty on your area, I am talking cheap eats, fun activities for less and events in the community; ask a volunteer at the fall fair. I had a pretty good time at both of the fairs I attended, they brought back memories and helped create new ones. That’s really all I can ask for from any place I go.




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