The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE or “The EX” as it’s more commonly known now) kicked off last weekend. For my friends in Toronto, The EX seems to be one of those things you “have to do once”.
While certainly a big show, what many don’t realize is start of The EX, also unofficially kicks off fall fair season in Ontario. Across the province, small towns will come together to celebrate with fall fairs showcasing their crops, cooking and more in the coming weeks. If you want a true fair experience this fall, this is where you’ll have it!
7 Reasons to Visit a Fall Fair
- Food – there might not be chili dogs with crickets, but you’ll still find fantastic eats, including homemade pie, fudge and my hometown favourite, a hot turkey sandwich, smothered in yummy gravy!
- Lawn mower races – Small town fairs often feature some unique entertainment. Demolition derbies, farmers’ Olympics and as of late, lawn mower races (mowing decks removed) have become popular. Noise, dirt and chaos free with admission!
- 4-H Members – Beautiful animals being looked after and led by adorable 4-H kids. What more do I need to say?
- Tractors – Be it new or old, you are sure to see a tractor at a fair. Often there will be antique displays as well as newer, shiny models you can sit on and snap a pic! Horn honking optional!
- Horses – Who didn’t want a horse growing up? Nearly every small town fair features a horse show and you can usually get up close and personal to these beauties. Just use caution – ask the owner if you can approach and stay where the horse can see you.
- Royalty – Take a selfie with a queen! Okay, technically they’re actually called ambassadors but the women still rock a crown!
- Win a prize! There is inevitably a competition of one sort or another you can enter on-site. If you’re real ambitious, (and a little crafty, good in the kitchen, behind a camera or have a green thumb) check out the fair classes* in advance and enter your own work. Just don’t expect much more than a little sticker ribbon and perhaps enough prize money to cover next year’s admission. Winning is more about bragging rights!
Some of my favourite fall memories are at a fair. What about you? Are there any fall fairs you go to every year and what do you love best about them? Add your thoughts in the comments below!
*The Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies’ website contains a list of all fairs in Ontario. Some fairs have their own websites, which include a digital version of their fair book and classes. Others may not, so if you are in the area and want to know more information, pop by the local hardware or any store that sells farming supplies (animal feed, equipment, etc.) and likely they will be able to help!