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Fall Fairs — Which One is Your Favourite?


“Canada’s Largest Four-Day Fair”

If you live in North America there’s a good chance that a fall fair has a special place in your heart. It might be big — huge! — like Toronto’s Canadian Nation Exhibition, or it could be quite small, showing off the best that a rural county has to offer.

For me, Markham Fair evokes memories of good times. During my teens (this is how nerdy I am) the smash-up derby and tractor pull were must-sees . Back in those days we knew a number of the crazy derby drivers, and local farmers entered their tractors in the unmodified class, sometimes straight out of the field after a day’s work! Of course fair food and, in my case, barf-inducing rides were part of the experience.

Later, I took my own kids to the fair. We’d go on the kiddie rides and check out school entries in the contests. It was always a big deal to see who had entered and won in each category.

For many years since then I’ve preferred going to the fair alone, usually in the late afternoon on my way home from work. I like to browse the exhibits in relative peace — taking my time to peruse farm crops to handicrafts to baking. Although Markham’s population has exploded since I first started going to the fair, I still see plenty of familiar names there, and that makes me happy.

Today, for the first time, I went to the fair with one daughter and two grandchildren. With two- and three-year-olds in tow, Sarah and I had no agenda other than to see the animals and eat poutine. Mm-mmm! (Check out the link if you’ve never heard of poutine before.)

It was the finest of autumn days in southern Ontario. The skies were blue, the sun was shining, and the breeze was crisp. Trees were brilliant green, gold, red, and orange, so bright that some of them seemed to be on fire.

Crowds at the fair were heavy, but we managed to maneuver two strollers along with the rest of the herd, and here’s what we saw.

Annie was a bit shy of the sheep, but Nolan stepped right up.

The hen house was noisy with cackling and cock-a-doodle-doos. Annie thought this rooster looked like he was going to a polka-dot party.

We thought this bunny might be going to the same party as the rooster.


There was a sand table.


You’ve never seen a little girl so excited about having her face painted.


A sheep lost her fleece,

and some big horses drove around the track.

The kids played on the bleachers while Nan and Mommy/Aunt Sarah drank their coffee.

The sun and fresh air tired out our little Nolan, but chatty Annie said, “I tired too, Nan, but I have to stay awake to tell you things”.

Home looked really pretty when we pulled in, and it was nice to be able to have a cup of tea and relax after our big day.

Except Nolan didn’t relax …

He put on the ear muffs and got ready to run the lawn vacuum. The only sad part of the day was when Pop said that he’d be the one driving the tractor — not Nolan! Oh, well. When you’re two years old you can’t have everything you want.


Phyllis writes words: words for stories, and words for books. Phyllis writes words for blogs too.

4 thoughts on “Fall Fairs — Which One is Your Favourite?

  1. That was another very interesting read about your fair adventures and I am sure you will continue to visit with the grandchildren for many years to come and make some more precious memories Thank you for sharing them with us.

  2. I just love the fair its my favorite time of year 🙂 In Virginia the state fair is good…I have been almost every year since I was your kids age. I have some great memories and looks like your kids will also. They are adorable 🙂

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