The Maberly Show Fair
This small rural fair in Lanark County is located on the TransCanada Highway #7, east of Kaladar and west of Perth and is held towards the end of August each year. It was founded in 1882 with the fairgrounds being secured about 1885.The fair continues to be a popular event today. More information can be found at https://www.maberlyfair.ca/. In 2023 the theme of the fair was “Bugs, the good, the bad, and the lovely”.
The fair features:
- Horse Draw, Pony Pull, Light Horse & Pony Show
- Cattle, Sheep, Swine, Poultry, Fowl & Eggs
- Antique Farm Machinery
- Produce, Flowers, Baked Goods, Syrups, Honey & Bee’s Wax
- Crafts, Art, Exhibits, Music, Entertainment, Races
- Youth’s Work and Senior’s Section
I remember many visits to this event during my childhood. My grandfather would exhibit and later my father would judge livestock, my grandmother would select items from her “fair trunk” to exhibit. Many of our relatives would attend and I remember much ‘waiting’ while the adults visited with ones they had not seen for a while!
From the Perth Courier, 1 Nov 1901
The people of South Sherbrooke have something to be proud of in the annual show-fair as it stands before the public to-day. It began small, but from a humble beginning it has grown to be one of the best country exhibitions in the county, and one of the prime attractions for all the countryside around. At the fair on Thursday last week – besides those from the township itsself – we saw gathered together people from Perth, North Sherbrooke, Dalhousie and a great many from the back lots of Bathurst; from Oso, Crosby and Bedford in the neighboring counties. Maberly seems to be a central point for a great range of rural country for many miles around, and all appear to join in making this show their own, and patronized it with a patriotism and a zeal that is a good object lesson to the county town. The hills, rocks, and broken country on all sides do not prove by any means that the country is unproductive. There is little of it that cannot be used profitably for grazing; and in a time like this, when cheese, butter, cattle and sheep, constitute so large a source of the farmer’s revenue and so ready an exchange for cash, a grazing farm, as long as there is plenty of acres in it, is no mean possession. Besides, in the valleys and beaver-meadows, there is a large area if good cropland.
Maberly is the capital of South Sherbrooke, and is located on the Fall River, about twenty miles from Perth; and its situation may be called picturesque, the mills, the rolling country around and the deep ravine forming the channel of the river giving the village and its surroundings an aspect of romantic scenery which may compensate for what is lacking in the barn-floor level of other places. A flourishing gristmill and sawmill, owned by Mr. P.G. McGregor – who acquired these and other properties from the old solid real estate owner of the village, Mr. Isaac Korry – bring a lot of trade to the village and employ not a few hands. There is a woolen mill, and a wagon shop carried on by Mr. George Charlton, several flourishing stores, the principal one of which is that carried on by the township clerk, Mr. Henry Rigney, and the well kept hotel of the village, operated by Mr. W.W. Young. Mr. McGregor has a stock and dairy farm, and keeps nothing but full-bred Jersey cattle to supply the milk. His butter has attained a great reputation among users, and he cannot overtake the demand. His father-in-law, Mr. George Buchanan, has a dairy farm also at the village stocked by grade Jerseys, where a large quantity of choice butter also is turned out for town markets.
The Agricultural Society Fair Grounds
The grounds of the Agricultural Society are situated west of the village, and are owned by themselves. On the northeast corner is the show-building, kitchen and dining room. The exhibition hall, large enough at first, is now much too small, so rapidly has the exhibits increassed, and the attendaaance mounted up. We understand it is the intention of the directors to build an addition to the north end before next show-fair day; if they do not, part of the articles will have to be placed outside if the increase goes on as it has in the past two years. They will also spend some money in levelling the horse-track, as this is yet too much in a state of nature to do the work right, but it is well known how far a little money will go, aided by “bees” of the many farmers interested, in the levelling up process. The grounds of the Dalhousie society is an instance of this. The grounds overlook the handsome residence of the secretary, Mr. Isaac Korry. The President, Mr. Patrick Corley, with his badge of office on his breaast, was faithfully and energetically attending to his work all the day.
The building was brim-full of exhibits. The show of ladies’ work was excelled, of all those we attended this year, by the Pert exhibition alone, and was a credit to this or any other society. The quality was choice, and the exhibitors need not be ashamed or afraid to show such goods at the county fairs. The display of home-made bread was very large, and that of buns and cakes very enticing. Sherbooke grows excellent apples, and many toothsome collections were here, while potatioes out ranked the display at an other show we have seen this year. Other roots were away up, and grain was fairly good. As we said befor, the entries have outgrown the building, and it was difficult to see things rightly on this account, and on account of the large crowd. The dining room of the society did a large business, and gave an excellent meal.
The show of cattle was superior, and the county show at Perth must even take care if they wish to keep up their record for the largest stock exhibit. Mr. P.G. McGregor showed six purebred Jerseys – two beautiful cows, one heifer, one bull and two calves – which carried off the awards. Mr. Geo. Buchanan had five Jersey grade cattle from his dairy farm, which won first and second prizes. Mr. W.J. Kirkham, of Brooke, Bathurst, exhibitied a heard of Ayrshires, which captured eight first prizes. The prize bull’s dam was White Flora, raised by a noted stock breeder of Apple Hill, and some of the others were from other noted breeders. The balance were purebreds, raised by himself. Mr. Edward Kirkham took first prize for a splendid team of black carriage horses.
The ring performances of the horses were very interesting; so were the athletic sports, especially the race for men above forty, the first money of which was won by Mr. Kane, Scotch Line.
Mr. W.W. Young put up an excellent meal at his hotel, and fed an immense number, both at the dinner andd the tea tables. The prize list will appear next week.