In the year 1885 the community of Maberly established a fairground where farmers brought their choice fruits, vegetables and livestock to vie against each other for prizes. The women too brought their butter, eggs, soap, hand pieced quilts and all forms of handicraft and competition was keen. By 1894 Maberly Agricultural Fair was offering $350 in prizes with sports and games for all. John Morrow dug a potato weighing 4 1/4 lbs so one assumes that he won the prize for the biggest potato at the fair." A lot has changed over the past 136 years. Prizes are certainly higher and themes have changed to reflect the times. There is still needlework and produce but we also now include photography, crafts and an antique section. In 1906 the C.P.R. made special arrangements to run an excursion train from Perth to Maberly, returning at 6:06 p.m. It was reported in the local paper that a large contingent attended from Perth. The Perth Citizen's Band provided music all afternoon. We now arrive by personal vehicle and number in the hundred's on fair day.
In 1901 the Agricultural Society purchased two acres of land from John and Elizabeth Morrow for the sum of $275.00. In 1912 they enlarged the grounds again adding another strip bought from Margaret and Winnifred Korry for $45.00. In 1961 another strip of land was bought from Cyril Moore and Herb Buchanan at a cost of $120.00. This final strip of land was to be used as a parking lot on fair days. Besides the exhibit hall, there was the dining hall with the kitchen attached built of rough lumber. The people sat on long wooden benches and ate off a narrow wooden table set with delf dishes and silverware. The table groaning with boiled potatoes, baked beans, huge platters of turkey, tomatoes, etc., was topped off with good home baked pies. During the depression and a sign of economic times in 1929 The Maberly Fair was cancelled. Again in 1931 Maberly Fair was cancelled. Farmers just did not have the money to spend on a fair. In the winter of 1970 -71 under a heavy load of snow the dining hall caved in leaving the kitchen part which was used until 1975. A large tent was used to seat the people in 1971 and the fair supper carried on. In August 1972 a steel building was purchased and under head carpenter, Burns K. McDonell most of the work was done by the Agricultural Society members in laying the cement foundation and assembling the building, finishing one week before fair day. This is where our meals are served today.
We have the distinction of being the only small fair that stops traffic on the trans-Canada highway for our parade every year. We also hold the largest competition of zucchini races on fair day. Fair day had always been the last Wednesday in September but about 1972 it was moved to the last Saturday of August. Maberly Fair is the 25th of August 2018 this year.
We host a Pie-in-the-Sky Day on the long weekend of July every year with a huge telescope to view the heavens and over 100 homemade pies to be sold. Pie in the Sky is Sat. June 30, 2018 at the fairgrounds. We also have euchre parties the second and fourth Wednesday of every month from March to November starting at 7:00 pm at the Maberly Community Hall with a cost of $5.00 per person. We will host a ham & bean dinner on Feb 16, 2019 and a pancake brunch in Mar 2019.
Maberly Fair is always looking for volunteers and we meet at 7:30pm at the Maberly Community Hall the last Monday of every month and would welcome you to our meetings. Come out and join us. Contact the President Bill Cameron at 613-268-2549 or Secretary Rosetta McInnes at 613-268-2548 or check us out on our Maberly Fair website.