The Priddis & Millarville Fair is a full weekend of old fashioned, country-style family fun that draws our extended community together on the third weekend in August. The Fair is suitable for all ages and includes a wide variety of competitions, contests, displays and entertainment. The theme for the 2023 Fair is COUNTRY FUN FOR EVERYONE and you can find it here:
Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!
The 2022 Fair Book is a preview to all the information you need as an exhibitor at the 2023 Fair. Print copies will be available at the MRAS office and at the general stores in Millarville and Priddis. Copies will also be distributed throughout Foothills County while supplies last.
NOTE: Anyone can exhibit but you must pre-register. The online registration link will be posted here when available.
Exhibitors in Arts & Handicrafts, adult and junior, have the option to drop off their exhibits in the arena on 5:00 PM on Friday for judging Friday evening.
All exhibits will be judged (or timed for Gymkhana) with ribbons and prize money awarded.
Introduced by the early British settlers, the Millarville Races were the continuation of a racing tradition in England and Ireland. The first Race Committee was formed on 3rd June 1905, when the residents of Millarville met to discuss the possible organization of an event. The land for the racetrack was granted to the Committee by Raymond DeMalherbe rent-free for the first thirty-five years. The first Millarville races were held later that month, making the race meet the oldest in Alberta.
The track lay in an east-west direction and was simply marked out on the ground. In I906, an inside rail was built, and an outside rail followed. In 1911, the first shed, with thirty stalls, was constructed with a committee room at one end. The stalls were rented out for a dollar for the duration of the meet. Later a grandstand was built over the stalls. During the First World War, racing was discontinued at the track in 1916 and 1917 but resumed in 1918 when the proceeds were donated to the Red Cross.
In 1940, the rent-free lease expired, and the racetrack reverted to the landowners, but the club members were able to purchase it outright with monies raised through a debenture sale. In 1951, pari-mutuel betting was introduced under federal regulation and the Millarville Racetrack came to be listed in the roster of Canada’s leading racing centres.
The Millarville Racetrack, the Racetrack Hall Association, and the Priddis and the Millarville Agricultural Societies amalgamated as the Millarville Racing and Agricultural Society in 1971 to coordinate the various committees involved at the grounds. Over the years, new buildings have been added and improvements made to the track and grounds, many through local donations. The board consists of many directors who volunteer their time, expertise, and community spirit to make sure this facility continues to thrive.
In the archives of the Glenbow Foundation, a complete record can be found of the first meeting of the Millarville Race Club, dated May 1905.
The Races and the Fair paved the way for the creation of five additional events hosted by MRAS:
Our success lies with the generations of volunteers who dedicated themselves to this facility since 1905.
In 2014 the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development implemented a new recognition program for agricultural societies that have been incorporated for 100 years or more. In 2015, MRAS proudly accepted this award of distinction at the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies (AAAS) annual convention in Edmonton, and in 2019 were nominated for The Chamber of Commerce Business of Distinction award for Community Event. In 2020, the MRAS were the recipients of the Government of Alberta’s Innovation Award for our fundraising initiatives and strong ability to adapt our events through success throughout the pandemic.
This short account cannot capture the proud heritage and community spirit MRAS has provided to generations of families in Southern Alberta. We invite you to visit us and experience Western Hospitality at its finest.
The Fair is a great place to learn about a wide range of topics. Test your knowledge and skill with our judges.
The Priddis & Millarville Fair uses a variety of sources to set judging standards:
Home Cooking & Baking / From the Kitchen – criteria accumulated by accredited Alberta Agriculture judges that includes weightings for appearance, texture, pie crust, pie filling and of course flavour.
Adult Arts & Handicrafts – criteria set by accomplished artists in each media and includes both Artistic (harmony, originality, creative expression) and Technical (degree of difficulty, quality of execution and for handicrafts, clear communication of purpose)
Flowers, Vegetables & Fruit – judging criteria are set out in Alberta Agricultures Judging and Exhibiting Standards for Horticultural Shows
Dairy Goats – the Canadian Goat Society Standards for Does will be used in the showmanship classes. For more info on dairy goats in general, go to goats.ca. Other useful documents from that website are the CGS Showmanship Card and a diagram showing the Anatomy of a Dairy Goat.
For virtual exhibit classes, exhibitors upload their entries via Showorks. The judges will score and assign placings within the software. Results will be emailed to the exhibitors.
For anyone who enters the Home Cooking & Baking department, watch the video below for some tips on how to create an award-winning entry.
The Priddis and Millarville Fair is an old-fashioned fair happening the third weekend in August. It began in 1907 and since the 1950’s has been held at the Millarville Racetrack. The ever increasing popularity of this country event led it to become a two-day fair in 2016. This agricultural weekend is a wondrous extravaganza for kids of all ages, rural and urban visitors, and participants. Exhibitors can participate in bench and livestock classes. Special demonstrations give audiences a glimpse of country atmosphere.
This fair continues the tradition on which it was built – keen yet friendly competition showcasing excellence. The purpose has always been and remains “to put on a great show: where the entire community is welcome and encouraged to participate”. Through the diligence of generations of volunteers and new community members, exhibitors and sponsors, it continues as one of the oldest and largest agricultural fairs in this province.
Fordville School happened to be halfway between, so inside exhibits were displayed in the school house and a set of corrals were made to accommodate the livestock. The fair was held at Fordville School from 1931-1945. Although this worked well for a while, the fair grew year by year, and there was never enough room or facilities at hand.
Since 1946, the Millarville Race Track has been its permanent home. After much community input, a hall was built in 1950 on the Race track land, providing the hall would in no way jeopardize the track. That was a happy day for the whole community and from then on, the Priddis and Millarville Fair has been held at the Millarville Racetrack. ¹
In 1970, the Agricultural Society joined with the Millarville Racing and Sports Association to form the Millarville Racing and Agricultural Society. In 2007, a monument plaque was situated on a rock on the north side of the Racetrack Hall, commemorating a Century of Exhibitors. This agricultural fair continues the tradition on which it was built – keen yet friendly competition showcasing excellence. The purpose has always been and remains ‘to put on a great show’ where the entire community is welcome and encouraged to participate.
The fair has always been a family affair; three and four generations of a family exhibiting at the same time, often competing in the same classes. First time exhibitors too, soon feel the magical spirit of Fair Day and become entrenched in the well-established fair traditions, returning to exhibit year after year. As they say, they ‘became hooked’. Fair Directors/Managers have continually added their own magical touch and commitment to the success of the Fair creating and offering classes and incentives to attract and retain these exhibitors. Spectators likewise enjoy Fair Day and come to partake in some of that good old-fashioned country fun. The Fair is family; the Fair is Community. ²
The Priddis and Millarville Fair has morphed and expanded, utilizing all available spaces including the Hall, Quonset, pens, outdoor arenas, racetrack, large tents, and now the new arena, which was rebuilt in 2019. This new spacious facility provides much needed space for the many varied classes and demonstrations. Since 2016, exhibits, exhibitors, and demonstrations are showcased for two days in this beautiful country atmosphere.
This country fair is a huge success story because of the diligence of generations of volunteers and new community members, exhibitors, and sponsors. It is one of the oldest and largest agricultural fairs in this province. This unique quality of combining outstanding bench exhibits (flowers, fruit & vegetables, grains & grasses, home cooking & baking, photography, fibre arts, arts & handicrafts, and woodworking) as well as excellent live entries (llama, dairy goats, sheep, poultry, waterfowl & pigeons, light horse, beef cattle and rabbits) creates a learning atmosphere for participants, volunteers, and spectators.
¹Excerpts from Art Patterson’s article in Reflections On the Millarville Race Track
² Dorothy Jackson’s article in Going to the Fair Volume 2
PRIDDIS & MILLARVILLE FAIR DONORS
All donors will be recognized with signage during Fair weekend. Benefactors of the Fair ($500 and higher, cash or in-kind) include:
|Benediktson Family||Mike & Barb Parker|
|Gwen & Wayne Blatz||Bill & Judi Powell|
|Blue Ridge Excavating Ltd.||Red Deer Lake Meat Processing Ltd|
|Michelle Chovanez||Scott Daniel Seaman Memorial Fund|
|Eagle Engineering||Malcolm & Suzanne Sills|
|Foothills County FCSS||Sheep Creek Arts Council|
|Bill Jackson & Edith Morlidge||Sheep Creek Weavers|
|Donna Kendall & Lloyd Erickson||Sundance Enterprises|
|John & May Lockhart||UFA|
|Millarville & District Rec Board||Patty Webb|
|Millarville Horticultural Club||Western Wrangler Construction|