With files from The Keeper of the Scrapbooks — Christina ‘tina’ Camelon Buchanan — Thanks to Diane Juby— click here..
If you were lucky to have a quarter when you went to the fair you immediately turned them into pennies. In those days a penny could do lot, and you cherished each one. Some would walk miles to attend the fair and Hazel Mitchell ( Mrs. Albert Mitchell) walked 7 miles to the Lanark Fair. From Ladore to the MacDonald’s Corners Fairs she made the trek as she had begun to exhibit at an early age. Hazel had prize ribbons for handwriting and various baked goods, especially bread.
She felt the walk was well worth it but sometimes she stayed with some of her relatives overnight. They would watch the horse races and look at all the exhibits, especially the fowl. Ice cream was a rare thing in those days so it was usually her treat for the day.
Most people only attended their local fair– which was the one that was closest to them. It was the social event of the year where the local people went to meet their friends as in those days you seeed to know everyone you met. When Albter Sommerville was involved the society hired a cook by the name of Martin Larocque, and there was always a good dinner served at midday. Archie Yuill looked after the dining hall for a few years also.
At the Lanark Fair there used to be a string of horse buggies pass up and down the road from Carleton Place. Mrs. McCurdy lived down on the Guthrie place near the McIlquham Bridge on the 11th line. She never exhibited at the Fair but was busy preparing meals served by the U.C. W. ( WA at that time) and they treated the boys after the ballgame. There was also a big horse show and had many fruit stands will all kinds of autumn fruits for sale.
Lanark Fair was first connected with the early Bathurst Horicultural Society at the start in the 1800s. The grounds they felt were on a good site, on a rising knoll with good buildings, a big hall, and an eighth of a mile long race track. It took 8 rounds to make a mile and the horses were always going in circles. As some said there was no high class stuff and the ice cream and popcorn in very long bags were the desired treats.
In its hay day the Lanark fair even beat out the Perth Fair when the fairs were bring held at the same time. But the Lanark fair eventually lost out as the merchants thought it just wasn’t lucrative enough as far as their businesses were concerned and chnage was eveident everywhere. The last Lanark Fair was held in the village in 1948. The buildings were demolished and the lumber sold– but people still talked about the great little fair in Lanark.
Walter Cameron said he felt like a millionaire with a five cent piece in your pocket. He loved the bicycle races and a ride on the merry-go-round meant more to him than anything else. It used to be hard to find a place to tei your horse up at the fair there was such a crowd. But it began to fizzle out after the first world war and more after the second. People travelled farther and things close to home didn’t mean so much anymore.
So what happened to the fair? The fairgrounds became a park with most of the treesgone and according to some– for better or worse sports took over in Lanark.