About The Fair

About The Fair

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Back on July 25, 1940, a wartime organization called “Carry on Canada” was formed in the Dundas area. This was a Canada-wide organization and its main objective was to raise money and assist in war efforts.

The “Carry on Canada” group raised money and assisted in war efforts in various ways. These included selling war stamps, holding community concerts, collecting salvage, registering firearms, holding small fairs and plowing matches and many other similar fundraising schemes. The proceeds from these efforts were all given to charity, and in return were sent as Christmas gifts to soldiers overseas (usually tobacco and pens), donated to Kings County hospitals, and were used to aid the Red Cross, Y.M.C.A., Knights of Columbus and other smaller charity organizations.

The Dundas group became known as the Central Kings Carry on Canada Corps with Leslie Hunter, President; N. W. MacLeod, Vice-President; and B. Creed, Secretary. One of the major efforts put forth by the Central Kings Carry on Canada Corps was the holding of an annual plowing match and small fair.

 The first match was held at the farm of Frank Clay’s farm in Bridgetown on October 2, 1941. At that time, it was called the King’s County Plowing Match and Field Day. There were four classes of horse-plowing and one tractor class with about six hundred people in attendance. This one-day event had Sports and entertainment were also a feature of these early shows. Admission was 25 cents and 15 cents. The first Plowing Match was considered quiet a success as the net profit amounting to $166.91, which was donated to charity.

 In March of 1944, by an act of the Provincial Legislative Assembly, the Provincial Plowing Match and Agricultural Fair was officially incorporated. In 1944, the Association purchased the Dundas Courthouse for a meeting place and community hall. By 1947, 99 acres of land in Dundas was purchased as the fair grounds.

 Construction began as an exhibit building was built on the grounds. An eating booth was also built and the Provincial Government gave a grant of $1,000 to assist the fair. The first barn on the site originally had no roof. For the first few years the barn consisted simply of walls where animals could be tied. Later a roof was added and another barn built.

 At one time, the fair grounds was also home to a small group of historic buildings including the Turner House and Farmstead and the old courthouse. Today only the courthouse remains.

 From the early origins as strictly a ploughing competition, the fair grew to include many livestock competitions. Cattle and horses were a major attraction. Years ago one barn was completely full of pigs and sheep. A Queen of the Furrow competition was introduced as talented young women from the area displayed their ploughing abilities.

 In the late 1970’s a parade was added to the show. Now there are horse shows, horse pulls, poultry displays, cattle and other livestock competitions, a parade, handicraft and cooking exhibits, midway, children’s activities, agriculture displays and much more. Ploughing remains a major component of the fair. Today the fair runs a full three days, in August, and continues, as at its beginnings to be run by local people.

 The first president was Leslie Hunter. He was succeeded, in order, by Billy Hunter, Raymond Acorn, Malcolm MacKenzie, Elaine MacLennan, George and Melaney Matheson, Bruce and Elaine MacLennan, Sandra Hodder-Acorn and now presently serving are Gordon and Karen Jackson.

 Our Presidents have been supported by many, many dedicated and committed volunteers, many related to the original organizers.

 Recent development projects include a new 4,000 square foot convention centre, a large display barn and modern kitchen facility. In the late 1990’s a large barn for cattle and exhibit purposes was added to the fair grounds, replacing some older barns. It has provided a central location for agriculture displays and exhibits, petting zoo and cattle demonstrations and showing. It has also been an excellent location for local farmers and residents to store equipment in the winter.

 In the winter of 2005, a new kitchen was built at the site as a part of a large infrastructure project initiated by the Provincial Association of Exhibitions. The kitchen has provided us with an modern facility, where food safety practices and environmental health standards are easily carried out. The kitchen and the 4,000 square-foot convention centre have generated increased interest in our facilities for family reunions, anniversary celebrations, community benefits and regional events.

Over the years, we have successfully accommodated large events such as the 2023 Bonanza (Canadian Junior Hereford Association Show), the 2007, 2009, 2015 and 2018 PEI Provincial 4-H Rural Youth Fair, Canadian National 4-H Council Evening in the Country, Canadian Junior Angus show, PEI Women’s Institute Annual meeting, Miniature Horse shows and the Maritime Hereford Show. Annually the PEI Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival is held on the Fair grounds in early July. Also on site, we have a ceilidh hall, washroom facilities, 3 horse / livestock show rings and grandstand, four barns, a large cattle wash rack as well as a Farmers’ Market building. 

 Contact us to discuss how we may be able to help you host your event.