Village tradition alive and well as Lougheed Fair enters its 90th year

The bench exhibits continue to be a popular draw for many visitors to the Lougheed Fair, where little has changed except for the constantly expanding list of sections to enter under, where diligent volunteers adjust and add classes and sections with new categories.

The bench exhibits continue to be a popular draw for many visitors to the Lougheed Fair, where little has changed except for the constantly expanding list of sections to enter under, where diligent volunteers adjust and add classes and sections with new categories.

The first Lougheed Fair was held Oct. 10, 1919, under the auspices of the Goose Creek Agricultural Society.

The next 23 years saw the annual fair fall on the first Wednesday in August, then after 1941 the fair was discontinued until after the war.

In the early days, cattle were driven to the fair grounds by exhibitors on horseback, and the ‘rings’ were rings of spectators, which on at least one occasion turned out to be a little dangerous.

According to the Lougheed history book, one rather portly gentleman was caught in the stomach by a long-horned cow determined to get back to her calf, and rushed to Hardisty to the hospital.

The bench show was set up in a big tent in those early years of the fair, and every year new sections and categories were added as the fair grew.

Soon basketball, horseshoes and softball were added to the day’s activities, and the evening ended with a dance at the school, with local musicians providing the music.

At that time, the Goose Creek Fair was the only country fair between Lougheed and Camrose.
After the war, some faithful Ag. Society members worked on reviving the fair, and that was when it was brought into Lougheed, and on Aug. 13, 1947, the Goose Creek Ag. Society held its 24th annual fair in Lougheed.

In 1962, the Goose Creek Ag. Society became the Lougheed Ag. Society.

Moving the fair to the town required a lot of work by Ag. Society members and volunteers, as new corrals had to be brought onto the sports grounds.

The bench show tables and chairs were transported from the Goose Creek School, but gradually became dilapidated, and new ones were built.

The show was first held in the Community Hall when it moved to town, but that was deemed to be too far away from everything else, and it was moved to the curling rink.

After artificial ice was installed in the rink, a complicated series of floor boards were built by the Society to cover the entire ice surface for the fair exhibits, requiring 15 to 20 people every year to lay and remove the flooring.

The fair grew to such a degree that the Society tried having it over two days for a couple of years, but the amount of work was so great that they returned to the one-day format that the fair remains as today.

The 90th Lougheed Fair will include children’s entertainment, cattle and horse shows, the Bench exhibits, Show ‘n Shine vehicle show, beer gardens, and ball games, with meal and snack booths open all day, just as the fairs of old.

As well, the day starts off with a pancake breakfast followed by a parade, and the Museum will be open all day, with an antique machinery and blacksmith demonstration, and displays of antique machinery and equipment all day.

If one considers the fact that Lougheed has a population of 233 people, the sheer number of volunteers required for a full day of activities going on all at the same time makes the fact that it is a 90 year tradition all the more remarkable.

Adding to the 90th anniversary of the fair this year is Flagstaff County’s second annual Celebrate your Rural Roots Trade Show.

The trade show is taking place in the Lougheed Arena and will feature two keynote speakers, with one presentation in the morning from Brenda Schoepp on ‘The top 10 things you need to know about the agricultural world we live in,’ and an afternoon presentation from Dr. Joe Schwarcz on the ‘Public perception of Agriculture – Facts and Myths.’

Flagstaff County is celebrating its 100th birthday by contributing to and sponsoring events across the county in 2013.

Leslie Cholowsky
Editor

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