WALLACETOWN FAIR HISTORY
AUTHORS RUTH FERGUSON AND ANNA TOKARZ
THE FIRST 100 YEARS
Although fairs have been held ever since making established settled communities, there is only one fair as far as residents, and former residents, of West Elgin are concerned. It is the Wallacetown Fair, now marking its official 154th anniversary.
Like other great institutions its early beginnings are veiled in mystery. It is a bit startling for those of us who thought Wallacetown Fair went back to time immemorial to learn that it was originally held in New Glasgow, core of the first Scottish section of the Talbot Settlement.
Some records indicate that an Elgin County Fair was held there as early as 1853 – the year Elgin separated from Middlesex and began its separate existence as a county. Later East and West Elgin branches were establish and it appears than the first West Elgin Fair was held at New Glasgow on October 19, 1860 under the sponsorship of the newly formed West Elgin Agricultural Society. James McKinley was president.
The three townships of Southwold, Dunwich and Aldborough formed the West Elgin Agricultural Society. It soon became obvious that New Glasgow was too far west for convenience. After a heated controversy, not unaccompanied by physical violence, it was decided to move the fair to the more central location of Wallacetown.