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August 5, 2015



Steam Fair 4.jpg


The Steam Fair concluded with the Sunday afternoon horse pull. 

 Photo: Sally Smid


Vintage tools, maple syrup and more

By Sally Smid


Steamy temperatures usually typify the Farmersville Steam Fair and its 36th year followed suit, but the heat didn’t seem to limit the passion that so many have for vintage equipment. Despite the extreme temperatures and humidity which can be hazardous especially for the many senior participants, the exhibits were well attended.

The event was presented by the Athens Lions Club from July 17 to 19 at the Centre ‘76 Fairgrounds. Friday night’s downpour dampened the start of the Fair, but Saturday dawned with a Shriner’s Breakfast and a busy agenda.  This year’s event featured the History of Maple Syrup production as well as antique chain saws.  The Fortune family, also known as The Kettle Boys from Almonte provided a large display of maple syrup varieties and equipment. Vendor Ray Fortune remarked that there was a steady flow of visitors and was surprised to meet folks from Australia to Pennsylvania.  There was also a large variety of vintage chain saws on display provided by the Saw Man, Lorne Bullock of Kingston. Chips were flying as demonstrations took place throughout the weekend. Chapter 20 of the Ontario International Harvesters were also in attendance. Visitors were able to view steam-powered engines, antique cars and trucks and various vintage collections. One interesting display was a collection of antique blow torches. There were also wagon rides and games for the kids. The Tackaberry collections of antique vehicles are always a special feature and the construction company’s involvement in making improvements to the fair grounds was quite evident along with the new canteen building which was put into great use.  A tractor pull involving nine different weight classes, ranging up to 12,500 pounds took place on Saturday. 

Lots of participation was involved in this year’s Craft Show which included heritage exhibits and a vintage book sale as well. On Sunday some wind kicked up to cool the air somewhat in time for the annual Horse Draw. The weekend also offered on site camping, refreshments, a beer tent and music provided by groups such as Old Tyme Country, Fiddlers Plus, County Road 5, and Steve Curtis and his band Bettin the Farm.

The theme of the Steam Fair is based on farming and its history and certainly even the local fair grounds are a significant venue.  According to the local heritage society, the land was donated by W.G. Parish, the first mayor of Athens when its name was changed from Farmersville 125 years ago. The railway station was located near the entrance to the grounds and remains of the tracks are evident. 


Continued on Page 15



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Wednesday September 2


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McKayla Harrison, 9, and her brother Trystan, 2, of Athens were thrilled to ride a camel the Delta Fair

The People’s Holiday

By Sally Smid


This was the 185th year for Delta Fair and certainly there have been many changes over the years, but it’s original title, “The People’s Holiday” seems to remain the same as local farmers, 4-H members and area residents have an opportunity to show and compete in a variety of areas including livestock, crafts, baking, gardening, and much more.

One of Ontario’s oldest operating agricultural fairs, it was originally incorporated as the South Leeds Agricultural Society.  The first fair took place in Farmersville, now Athens, and rotated throughout Leeds County for 26 years until 1856 when it became permanently located in Delta.

President Charles Nichols credits the fair’s long record of success to the hard work and planning of volunteers as well as many donations.  “Together with the creativity and enthusiasm of our exhibitors, the combination produces four interesting and fun filled days for all of us to enjoy!” 

Events began on Thursday, July 23 and featured the Ambassador and Mini King and Queen Pageants, Clara the Clown, Jimmy Flynn Comedy and Texas Tuxedo.  Once again World’s Finest Shows provided the Midway and Animal Land and the Exhibition Hall were open daily.  Chainsaw Log Carving provided demonstrations.

The Ry-Guy Magic Show took place Friday along with Big Time Pro Wrestling, Motor Madness and Mechanical Bull Rides. A popular attraction which was new to the Fair this year was exotic animals from the Bowmanville Zoo which included a zebra, camel, lemur, and lion cub.

Continued on page 6

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