Fall fairs are a mix of the old and the new. On one hand, they represent local traditions that date back well over a century, and on the other they’re a celebration of contemporary rural culture and a chance to exhibit the work of the previous year. A spirit of friendly competition has kept these events alive over the decades, so that now locals and visitors alike can enjoy the fall harvest. Alongside the traditional agricultural fare stand newer events like aerial shows and exotic animal displays, kid-pleasing carnival rides, and food concessions serving up some of the best the region has to offer.
With many fall fairs and events across the entire region, it’s easy to organize a fun weekend outing. Use this featured list on the Kawarthas Northumberland trip planner to discover your favourite event, or scan the list below and see what piques your interest.
Lindsay Exhibition – September 18-22
A five-day extravaganza, the Lindsay Exhibition (Or “LEX” for short) is the largest annual event in the City of Kawartha Lakes. It can also claim the largest single-room building in Eastern Ontario, a two-thousand-seat grandstand, and “largest milking shorthorn show anywhere in Canada.” If you don’t know what that is, the Lindsay Ex is a great place to get educated on local agriculture and livestock. Families with kids will appreciate the petting zoo, and curious youngsters can learn some impressive tricks and skills at the Circus Play Zone.
While strolling the midway you stand a good chance of encountering colourful performers, such as stilt-walking stunt ventriloquist Tim Holland. Indoors you’ll find home and trades shows, a flea market, and craft exhibits. Featured performances include the Woofjocks Canine All Stars dog show and the Pro Street Semis truck pull — the latter boasting machines so powerful they aren’t even street legal. Overall the LEX is a celebration of rural culture with a range of entertainment options. Visit www.lindsayex.com for more info.
Bobcaygeon Fall Fair – September 26-28
Established 1858, the Bobcaygeon Fall Fair brands itself “the Daddy of ‘Em All.” The 161st year of the fair features a craft beer tasting on Saturday afternoon. Visitors can expect plenty of live music, including a special Saturday Night Dance. Charmingly, the fair’s dog show was started in 1972 for children who did not have farm animals, and features categories led by kids. Start the weekend early by joining the crowds at the raucous demolition derby on Thursday evening. Other events include a Saturday parade and a talent show open to the public — visit bobcaygeonfair.com for details.
Brighton AppleFest – September 26-29
AppleFest offers a free street fair with over 150 booths of food, clothes, crafts, and more. For some exciting viewing, don’t miss the AppleFest Kings of Strength strongman competition on Saturday. Other attractions include daytime concerts in Memorial Park, a children’s village with a rock-climbing wall and pony rides, and a car show. Oh, and plenty of apples. Visit brighton.ca for a complete schedule.
Roseneath Fair – October 4-6
The Roseneath Fair was founded in 1868, and it’s still going strong 151 years later. Visitors can expect to find local fruits, vegetables, and crafts, as well as more unusual attractions such as a birds of prey exhibit by the Canadian Raptor Conservancy and an antique tractor pull featuring only vintage tractors. In a nod to Roseneath’s Scottish roots, the fair plays host to the Canadian Amateur Highland Games Championship (the website doesn’t mention whether there’ll be a caber toss, but live in hope). A fireworks display will follow the demo derby to celebrate the 150th anniversary. Shepherd’s Choice sheepdog demonstrations, pony rides, and more round out the family-friendly entertainment options – head to http://www.roseneathfair.com for more.
If you’re visiting on a Sunday, the Roseneath Carousel is not to be missed. Built in Kansas in 1906, it consists of forty restored antique wooden horses and two boats. Appropriate music comes courtesy of a 1934 Wurlitzer Military Band Organ playing paper rolls. Rides are $3 a pop, and the carousel closes for the season October 13.
Buckhorn Pumpkin Festival – Weekends in October starting October 5th
McLean Berry Farm is a go-to spot for pick-your-own produce in the warmer months, and Pumpkinfest closes out the harvest season with a bang — sometimes a literal one, if you’re in time to catch a pumpkin cannon demonstration. Situated just south of Buckhorn, McLean’s becomes a riot of activity and fall colour during weekends in October. Take a wagon ride to a pumpkin patch and pick your own for homemade pumpkin pie, or race your family through the corn maze. With attractions like pumpkin bowling, Bonesville Cemetery, and a Haunted Forest, there’s no better way to get set for Halloween. Full details are available at mcleanberryfarm.com.
Lang Apple Fest – Sunday, October 6th
Lang Pioneer Village provides an unusually immersive take on Peterborough County history. Not only does it feature over twenty-five restored and furnished buildings dating from between 1825 and 1899, it hosts villagers in authentic period costumes demonstrating the lifestyles of ages past. A working blacksmith’s forge, printing press, and a fully functional Jacquard Loom are among the attractions, and the early October Apple Fest fits seamlessly with the usual offerings. Take a horse and wagon ride near the beautiful Indian River, catch some old-time inflected music by the Lang Traditional Music Club, then watch the fibre, spinning and dyeing demonstrations and gain a new appreciation for the artisans of old.
History buffs will be in their element, but you don’t have to be a scholar to appreciate the sweet treats and fresh-pressed cider served up at the Cider Mill. Check out http://www.langpioneervillage.ca and don’t miss a unique attraction at one of the most evocative times of year.
Norwood Fall Fair – October 12-14
The Norwood Fair is also marking its 151st year in 2019, and has chosen “Scarecrows and Fence Rows” as its theme – sure to inspire some amusing entries. Taking place over the Thanksgiving weekend means tables stuffed with breads, pies, sausages, and other seasonal delights, or you might hit the midway for classics like funnel cake and taffy. Check out the massive, improbable-looking pumpkins at the giant pumpkin weigh-in, and take in some art and photography exhibits while you’re indoors. Ogle the rides at the antique car show, and get some laughs at the surprisingly nail-biting competition that is the lawn tractor race.
Equestrians will appreciate the horse events, featuring impressively large breeds such as Percherons, Clydesdales, and Belgians. The Ontario Xtreme Cowboy event will test a horse rider’s ability through a series of obstacles. The Norwood Fair is a major event in the region, with offerings for all tastes see www.norwoodfair.com to start planning your itinerary.