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Emma Holmes named new Senior Fair Ambassador

September 25, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh


Fair weekend reigning Senior Fair Ambassador Carly Phillips crowned 17-year-old Emma Holmes of Melancthon Township as the new 2017-18 Shelburne & District Fair Senior Ambassador.

An honours graduate of Centre Dufferin District High School, Emma is currently attending Lambton College in Sarnia.

She is in her first year of a three year program for Sport and Recreation Management.

Emma enjoys curling and volunteering in the community – most recently as Assistant Trainer for the Dundalk Atom Rep Hockey Team – and hopes to have a career in Sport and Recreation Management.

“I really enjoyed my weekend at the fair,” Emma told the Free Press. “On Friday night it was nice to see some of the returning ambassadors who helped shape the ambassador program to what it is today. It was great to see the community out at the fair especially with the gorgeous weather we had. There was something to do for everyone from the exhibits, to the truck and tractor pulls to the 4-H shows to the demolition derby. It was a great weekend and couldn’t ask for a better fair weekend to celebrate our 150th anniversary.”

Emma has graciously shared her winning Ambassador speech with our readers:


Corn dogs, hot dogs, soda pop, candy floss and ice cream. These are just some of the foods that have been consumed over the past 150 years of the Shelburne Fall Fair. Honourable Judges, fellow competitors, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to speak on the Shelburne District Fall Fair and how it has evolved from pioneer days to modern ways over the past 150 years.

What an accomplishment it is for the Fair to be celebrating its Sesquicentennial with our great Country of Canada. The Shelburne District Fair is the oldest continuing organization in our Town and was established in 1867 by the Melancthon Agricultural Society and was led by President John Mills. It is even older than the Town of Shelburne itself.

The first Dufferin Central Fair for the Town and the surrounding Townships was a one day event that took place a few kilometres from my home on the roadside in Masonville in Melancthon Township in October of 1868. It was later moved in the 1880’s to George Charter’s farm on the grounds of the Shelburne Turf Association, which would later become the Shelburne Driving Club. The Driving Club granted the fair the use of the property in 1887.

In 1888, Simon Jelly, the first of the Jelly Family to settle in Shelburne, graciously gave 16 acres of his farm to the Driving Club. This property contained a regulation horse track which is still on the property today. In 1889, because of the race track on the property, the fair included horse races and there was a highland Dance Competition.

In 1890, the Agricultural Hall was built at a cost of $1,100.00 with electric lights. This building was demolished in 1947 when the Shelburne Arena was built. In January of 1892, the Agricultural Society decided to purchase the property from the Driving

Club for $1,500.00 and in 1916 the horse stable was added to the property and is interesting to note that it is still in use today.

In 1917, there were no celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the Fair because of World War I. But in 1927 for the Fair’s 60th Anniversary and in 1967, the Fair’s 100th Anniversary, big celebrations were held.

By 1972, the Agricultural Society consisted of several executive members, board associate members and ladies board of associate directors. This was also the year that the Ambassador program was added to the Fair.

In 2014, many new and exciting initiatives took place with the show barn being fully upgraded to facilitate venders and exhibitors and in 2015 the horse barn was upgraded to the assembly hall and a new cattle pavilion was built.

And finally, 2017 the Shelburne District Fair is celebrating its Sesquicentennial!

I have been attending the Shelburne District Fair since I was a baby and through the years, I do remember many of the changes. The first time I competed for Fair Princess and Junior Ambassador, I remember giving my speeches on the big stage in the Arena.

During the Annual General Meeting of my Junior Ambassador year, I remember discussing the new plans for the fair grounds and wondering how the Board was ever going to fit all the amazing entries into the old show barn, but our wonderful Board and Volunteers made it happen and it is beautiful today.

I am very proud of the accomplishments over the years and I hope that the Shelburne District Fair will continue for another 150 plus years. I would be honoured to once again represent the Shelburne Agricultural Society for its 150th Anniversary.

Pioneers made it happen and our current Board of Directors and Volunteers will make sure the tradition carries on in September, on the second weekend after Labour Day.

Let’s continue to promote and support agriculture and not forget about our roots and how it all started.



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