There's something special about the Shannonville World's Fair.
It's had good years and bad years but somehow it's managed to survive and the people behind it are now preparing for another milestone 163'rd year in 2019.
That's an impressive feat for a community so small it has no official boundaries. Yet a determined group of volunteers have kept it going, knowing that to lose it would mean losing a part of the community’s history and an opportunity to teach youth about agriculture.
The long history of the fair is difficult to explain and the history books on the event are sketchy. What does or doesn’t make up Shannonville is also a bit unclear. The Shannonville area is generally referred to as an area along Old Highway 2, in between Belleville and Napanee and just above Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.
The host site of the fair today, however, is at the recreation complex in Tyendinaga Township, near an intersection known as Melrose. It’s safe to say that the area’s neighbourhoods and municipalities have changed over the last 163 years, but the annual late summer celebration is a mainstay.
The fair is an important part of Shannonville’s history because, in the early days, a fair would have been one of few opportunities for people of the community to get together for a weekend and celebrate the harvest season. It would be a rare chance for farmers to mingle with their friends and neighbors. Keeping the fair alive, keeps that tradition alive. This fair, like many others, features tractor and horse pull contests, cattle shows, horse shows and of course pie contests, you name it.
The fair is very important as it brings out the community, it opens the eyes of a lot of children and it keeps agricultural societies alive in our communities. After 163 years after the original fair, Shannonville is still an agricultural community.
The Shannonville Agricultural Society which runs the fair, is a healthy group of volunteers who are always willing to do the tedious work needed to run the fair every year. Of course very generous businesses and a Tyendinaga Township Council provide much needed sponsorships.