Back in Time at Markham Fair, Power and Majesty

Back in Time at Markham Fair, Power and Majesty

heavy horse pull, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2016

Owing to the covid-19 pandemic, Markham Fair, like so many other events, was canceled for 2020.  We thought it fitting, then, to look back in time at Markham Fair as we have experienced it with our family over the past 40 years.

antique farm machinery, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2010

One of the first displays encountered by visitors to the Markham Fair was a collection of antique farm equipment and other machinery common on farms years ago.

antique tractors, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2010

Given that fairs were always a place for farming families to congregate, display their wares and gain recognition for their efforts, highlighting the means by which they accomplished that was very fitting.

antique farm equipment, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2012

The display was a great opportunity for people of all ages to discover unusual and out-of-date methods of tilling the land and bringing in the harvest.

antique log cutter, markham fair, markham, ontario

It was an intriguing area with saws buzzing, motors revving, and machinery clinking and buzzing.

bob on antique farm equipment, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2012

For anyone who grew up on a farm, it was an opportunity to travel down memory lane with a hands-on look at some of the equipment.

antique thrasher, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2007

Volunteers were on hand to demonstrate how the machines worked.

1920 International Mogul Engine 4 HP Sideshaft, markham fair, markham, ontario

Because a lot of the machines had moving parts, the volunteers had to maintain and troubleshoot any problems that might arise with the old technology.

antique farm equipment, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2012

The volunteers were in their element answering lots of questions from the onlookers.

cow being groomed for judging, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2012

Markham Fair was also a place for owners to display their prized animals as they vied for top prize in the show ring.  A lot of effort went into prepping the animals for their debut.

cow being groomed for judging, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2012

Our family enjoyed watching the extent to which animals were groomed for their moment in the ring.

cattle being judged, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2012

Before a panel of judges, the livestock would be paraded around the arena as the judges rated specific aspects of the animals on show.

cattle being judged, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2012

Cattle were brought in from local farms and those not so close to Markham.

cattle being judged, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2010

And finally the moment they had all been waiting for, the awarding of the ribbons.

crowds at markham fair, markham, ontario, 2012

For several hours each year, Bob and I with our family would take in every aspect of Markham Fair.

jean at the midway, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2003

When our children were young and even not so young, they always enjoyed a few Midway rides sometimes even convincing Bob and me to go for a spin…literally.

bob taking photos, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2010

More often than not, we were on the sidelines taking photos to tuck away for future reference.

bob and jean in the homecraft building, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2012

The Markham Fair was known for its exhibits in the Homecraft and General Exhibits Buildings, and we eventually contributed to several of the competitions that were held.  One of my favorites was the Antiques and Collectibles.  It was amazing to see what treasures some people had kept from the past, and even I was able to take home a few red ribbons.

people eating french fries and hot dogs, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2008

By the time dinner rolled around, we would all be exhausted.  With food in hand, we often would head to the Livestock Barn to secure a place in the stands for the 7 o’clock Heavy Horse Pull.

heavy horse pull, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2012

The Heavy Horse Pull featured teams of Clydesdale, Percheron or Belgian horses.  Teamsters would have the horses immaculately groomed and turned out in their finest rigging.

heavy horse pull, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2010

Horse pulling is a draft horse competition where horses in harness, usually one or two animals, try to pull a stone-boat or weighted sled a distance set by the administrators. 

heavy horse pull, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2012

There were two parts to the competition, the light weight pull and the heavy weight pull.  A horse was only allowed to participate in one class or the other.

heavy horse pull, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2012

A teamster was allowed to have up to two helpers, and two attempts were allowed for each pull.

heavy horse pull, markham fair, markham, ontario

While a team was engaged in pulling the stone-boat, the judges asked for absolute silence from the audience and teams in waiting.

heavy horse pull, markham fair, markham, ontario

Despite the stands being filled to capacity, you could hear a pin drop.  The tension was palpable as everyone silently urged on their favorite team.  We came to recognize certain teamsters from one year to the next.

heavy horse pull, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2016

The course was well marked with chalk lines that were refreshed after each pull, and if any horse were to step outside the lines, that team would be disqualified.  The winner was the team or animal that could pull the most weight the furthest.

fireworks, markham fair, markham, ontario, 2007

During those years that Bob participated in the Old Tyme Fiddling Contest, we had to pass on the Heavy Horse Pull since both events ran simultaneously.  In every case, the Markham Fair would culminate with a bang as fireworks were set off even as the horses strained and the strains of fiddle music still emanated from the huge entertainment tent.  It was always a blast!

Markham Fair is set to return after the Pandemic ends on Sept. 30, Oct. 1,2, & 3 in 2021. Hope to see you there!

You May Also Like:

Back in Time at Markham Fair – Toe Tapping and Tantalizing

Back in Time at Markham Fair, the 1980s and early ’90s

Back in time at Markham Fair, Entering the New Millenium

Back in time at Markham Fair, Stiff Competitions, 2006 to 2013

fall colors in algonquin park

Fall Colors In Algonquin Park – 2014

Frame To Frame – Bob and Jean

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *