History of Fairs

The Chesley Horticultural Society was organized on |March 10, 1883 with 54 members and the membership fees was $1.00. The 1st Fair was held October 2nd and 3rd. There were no Fairs from 1893 to 1900. On March 12, 1902 it was moved that the Chesley Agricultural Society be formed. The 1st Horticultural & Agricultural Fair was held on September 15 & 16, 1902. In 1903, it was called Chesley Exhibition, in 1904, it was called Chesley Fair Society. Horse racing started in 1905. On March 31, 1906 the name Chesley Horticultural Society was changed to Chesley Agricultural Society and the Fair dates were always the 2nd Saturday of September and Friday evening. The 1st Fair was September 8, 1906. the Fair features were Queen of Fair Contest, Parade, Horse Show, Ponies, Beef & Dairy Cattle, 4H Club Events, Crops & Grains, W.I Displays, Baked Goods, Handiwork Crafts, Flowers, Vegetables, Midway and Refreshments.








































On Jan. 1911, became member of Ontario Fairs Association and James Crerar was sent as delegate to Convention. In 1913 sheds were erected in Victoria Park. In 1928 construction of new building, brick wall in place of cement block. On Sept 16, 1930 new Fair Buildings were open. In 1933, 50th Anniversary of Society Organization. The first fair building that was in Victoria Park, was taken over by Silk Knit Factory in 1947.  In May of 1951, go ahead to build Community Centre in front of moved arena. The fair was held in a large tent until it went to a new arena in 1952. In 1962 outstanding effort of Society convening banquet for Prime Minister of Canada John Diefenbaker who was guest speaker. Chesley Agricultural Society had good representation at both District and Provincial levels, Charles Lange and George Mannerow were District Directors. Later years the arena was condemned as unsafe and a new arena and community centre were built in 1976. In the 1970’s features at the fairs were 4H Calf Clubs, Saddle Club Show, Heavy Horse Shows, Horse Races, Midways, Parades and Saturday Night Dances.













































Each year the society organizes and funds the Chesley Fall Fair to help promote agriculture in our community. It supports our local 4H Sheep CLub and English & Western Horse Show. We have something for everything such as Field Crop Competitions, Fruit & Vegetables & Floral Exhibits, Home Preserves, Culinary Arts, Arts & Crafts, Photography, Quilts & Afghans, Sewing, Institute & Organization Displays, and for the children – Special Crafts Section and Public School Competition. We also feature a Pet Show, Decorated Bicycles, a Pedal Tractor Pull, Children’s Games and lucky Draws for children.  To help involve young people, an Ambassador of the Fair Competition is held and the winner represents the Chesley Agricultural Society at the District 10 OAAS Meetings, at the OAAS Annual Convention at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, and at the Miss Midwest Competitions in Walkerton and at the CNE in Toronto. A Junior Ambassador and a Tiny Tot Ambassador Program have been added and proved to be very popular. To help raise funds for fair prizes and expenditures, two Country Music Jamborees are held at the Chesley Community Centre in March and in October. They consist of an afternoon of music and dancing with Dave Chittick M.C. and musicians as well as a  Hot Roast Beef Supper put on by the Ag Society. Other fundraisers include a Silent Auction and a Live Auction of the first prize winning baked goods and home preserves. At the 2016 Fair, a pecan pie sold for $400 and a pint of pickled eggs sold for $180.