Priddis Millarville Fair

DATE: August 20 & 21, 2022
TIME: Saturday and Sunday from 9am - 4pm Admission: by DOnation

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 2022 Fair is COUNTRY FUN FOR EVERYONE and you can find it here:

 

  • Register and exhibit your skills in Arts & Handicrafts, Fibre Arts, Home Cooking & Baking, Horticulture, Photography and Woodworking.
  • Bring your horse and ride in any of the English, Western and Gymkhana Horse shows or compete in the Horse Costume event.
  • Show your Cattle, Dairy Goats, Poultry and Sheep.
  • Visit on Saturday or Sunday, or both, and view the exhibits, participate in a variety of Make & Take activities, learn all about farm animals and the wildlife around us.
  • Sign up for pie and watermelon eating contests, bid on a quilt or pie.
  • Cheer on your favourite antique tractor at the tractor pull competition.
  • Can heavy horses actually make ice cream? What is blacksmithing all about?  Why do roosters crow? Have you ever felt under the feathers of an owl or held an eagle on your arm?  Find out at the Fair!
  • Shop the Millarville Famers’ Market on Saturday.
  • Enjoy the music and tales of the backcountry with our featured entertainment The Wardens on Sunday afternoon.

about the fair

The Fair Book contains all the information you need as an exhibitor at the Fair.   The 2022 Fair Book will be released on June 1, 2022 in print and online.   In the meantime, browse the 2021 Fair Book for ideas or take a sneak peak at the 2022 PMFair Class List 

Anyone can exhibit but you must pre-register.  Online registration opens July 1 and the entry deadline for registration for bench exhibit classes, horse events and livestock classes is August 7, 2022.

All exhibits will be judged (or timed for Gymkhana) with ribbons and prize money awarded.

*** Gymkhana will run on Friday August 19 in the rodeo infield starting at 5:00 p.m. ***

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.

Another proud landmark event commenced two years later in 1907 with the introduction of the Priddis & Millarville Fair. In 1986 this unique one-day Fair was awarded the Canadian Association of Exhibition’s “Best Local Fair of the Year.” Every August we welcome over 6000 guests to our grounds and 2022 will be no exception when we celebrate 113 years of bringing our community together.

The Races and the Fair paved the way for the creation of five additional events hosted by MRAS:

  • Millarville “Run to the Farmers’ Market “ Half Marathon
  • Millarville Farmers’ Market
  • Millarville Chuckwagons, Chariots & Bulls under the lights
  • Millarville Christmas Market
  • Millarville Golf Tournament

For over a century the Millarville Racetrack & Agricultural Society has focused on bringing our community together through agriculture, education, activities, and events.

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.

JUDGING INFORMATION

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.

HISTORY

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.

MV_FAIR_02_BOY

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

DONOR RECOGNITION

PRIDDIS &  MILLARVILLE  FAIR DONORS

The resilience of the Fair is due to the unwavering support of the community – as volunteer time and talent, exhibitor participation, visitor enthusiasm and through direct financial support. We are so fortunate to live in a place where people know the meaning of community spirit.

The Fair is self-funding, meaning that income directed to the Fair is used for Fair expenses. If you would like to contribute to this long-standing tradition, please use the 2022 donation form to record your donation. We are truly grateful for your assistance.

All donors will be recognized with signage during Fair weekend.  Benefactors of the Fair ($500 and higher, cash or in-kind) include:

Benediktson Family

Scott Daniel Seaman Memorial Fund

Gwen & Wayne Blatz

Sheep Creek Arts Council

Blue Ridge Excavating Ltd.

Sheep Creek Weavers

Bill Jackson & Edith Morlidge

Malcolm & Suzanne Sills

John & May Lockhart

Sundance Enterprises

Millarville Horticultural Club

Patty Webb

Mike & Barb Parker

Western Wrangler Construction

Red Deer Lake Meat Processing Ltd.

 

 

 

INDIVIDUAL DONORS

Muriel Dais
John & May Lockhart
Doug Mackie
Don & Kathleen Arkes

Barb & Mike Parker
Arlene & Pat O’Brien
Suzanne & Malcolm Sills
Bill Jackson & Edith Morlidg