Postcard Memories is a weekly series of historic postcard views and photos submitted by René Hackstetter.
The big event was the Fall Fair as Tay is farm country.
Agricultural Societies held harvest festivals all over Ontario.
The parade was the best thing happening the day the fair opened. The crêpe in the wheel of your bike, a playing card, a clothes peg, and you were ready. Heck, you could push a pram or wheelchair if you wanted.
Tiny & Tay Agricultural Society founded the fair, which was originally in Wyebridge. Midland beat out Wyebridge to host the event. Residents in Wyebridge still chafe that Midland was victorious. This was over a hundred years ago, so you know folks in the area took their fairs seriously.
The area that includes the North Simcoe Rec. Centre was where the fair’s location.
That is also where the midway set up rides, games, candy floss, cranes to scoop silver dollars and baseballs to throw at teddy bears. It was all there, including the fun house.
Vegetable, field and seed and floral divisions were judged here annually.
The largest pumpkin or squash always lingers in our collective memory, behemoths of field and garden. Competition was fierce and seed stock was always being tweaked to get the best. The judges were farmers or seedsmen themselves and crop health and yield was paramount.
Let’s not limit ourselves to what is on the table, but drag ourselves and hesitant city kids through the stock barns.
Horses, cattle, sheep and goats in every variety each combed and plumped up for best effect. Rhode Island Red sticks in my mind. Midland still had the Heavy Horse category until the sixties.
Yes, Johnny, milk comes from cows and eggs from chickens. Farm-to-table fanatics take note - these yearly competitions for best-of- show kept people in the know about what a fresh bean was or how a tomato should taste.
Backyard garden enthusiasts would compete yearly for the red and blue ribbons. Moms would bake fruit pies. Ever tasted a real raspberry? Try planting the ever-fruiting variety…we have not bought wooden raspberries from elsewhere in years.
Our Fall Fair was part of a long tradition throughout Ontario and Canada that linked Agricultural Societies together such as the C.N.E., P.N.E. and I.P.E.
Under the threat of a pandemic many of these exhibitions have challenges.
Let us keep these treasures and lay them up in our granges. Let us remember our duty as stewards and patrons of husbandry.
Copyright René Hackstetter, October 15, 2020.