Norwood Fall Fair
2011 Norwood Fall Fair
Thanksgiving weekend originated with the agricultural industry as farmers gave thanks for the crops they harvested that year. As a result, the fall fairs held that weekend are among the most spectacular anywhere. One such event is the Norwood Fair which has been around for more than 140 years. The town is located along Highway 7 about 25 minutes east of Peterborough and is situated among some of the most colourful scenery that time of the year has to offer.
The event runs for four days over the long weekend and each day features different things to see and do. Saturday featured a parade with participants from the area and beyond decked out in their seasonal best. We met up with Norwood Fair Second Vice President Jeff Dornan who was at one of the new events for 2011, helicopter rides. For the many who lined up it was a chance to gain a panoramic view of the fall colours over the surrounding area.
Nearby at the Asphodel-Norwood Community Centre was the Kidz Koral with many crafts and activities for children to enjoy, including driving a model tractor. A highlight had to be Papa’s Kidz Trains, a very animated miniature village and train set. Papa himself was quite animated and provided many laughs for the kids and photo ops for the parents.
Of course, animals abounded and we saw some of the best livestock on display in the barns and during the demonstrations. There was the Norwood Fall Fair Holstein and Jersey show, the heavy horse draw and a show from the Ontario Hunter Retrievers whose dogs really went through their paces.
There was also the perennially popular EIEIO petting barn plus the horse, goat and poultry displays. I must say some of the winners in the poultry division were among the most colourful I’ve seen anywhere.
Great Fall Day
Speaking of colours, although it was fall, one would never know it as the day was unseasonably warm with temperatures well into 25C territory and gorgeous sun. With such favourable conditions it’s no wonder so many turned out and it certainly helped make the outdoor events successful. The cattle and horse events as well as the tractor pull drew enthusiastic spectators in great numbers.
Under the Roof...
We did stroll around the many Norwood Fair indoor displays as well including something you don’t always see at such an event – rock collections. It displayed some of the types of minerals that can be found in central Ontario. Of course pumpkins abounded and we have photos of some of the big ribbon winners including one weighing in at more than 1100 pounds! Some people even used them in a more creative sense as evidenced by the gourdly bride and groom.
Let the Music Begin...
For us and many others, a performance highlight on the Monday was Emily Flack and the Great Canadian Music Party inside the Brethren Coliseum. Emily is a member of the well-known Leahy Family and several from that clan were on hand to provide some energetic performances. Included in the show were renditions of traditional favourites along with fiddling and clogging displays. The family is large and obviously talent runs through all the generations. In fact, it was referred to not as a show but as a party. Other performers at the Norwood Fall Fair included Jake Charron, Marie-Jeanne, Brousseau, Tom Fitzgerald making it a very worthwhile stop.
As I mentioned earlier the weather was perfect for the many outdoor activities as well which consisted of arts and crafts plus other vendors. Of course the carnival atmosphere was alive and well with the various midway rides and games.
If great fall fairs are among your favourite places, make a point to see the Norwood Fall Fair, either as a first-timer or as a regular visitor.
2009 Norwood Fall Fair
Full of Surprises
It’s not often that I’m really surprised when visiting a festival or event, but I have to admit that our visit to the Norwood Fall Fair really caught me off guard! With the Village of Norwood being as small as it is, I expected the Norwood Fall Fair to be a fun but small rural fair. Much to my surprise this was not the case! The fairgrounds in Norwood are large, immaculately clean with new, well equipped buildings. The number of people in attendance was overwhelming. I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised, as I had visited their website a few days before. Their website is one of the best fair websites that I have seen. It was attractive, simple yet very informative!
I had other people talk about the Norwood Fall Fair and had always wanted to go, but this year was going to be different, we were going to go. So early on Thanksgiving Day morning we traveled north to Norwood. The fairgrounds were easy to find mainly because there were so many cars parked around it. We left our car and passed by the neat rows of cars that were parked in the field. We eventually came up to a small ring where a small group of equestrian riders practicing. We stayed to watch but since this was the first event that we had come to, we decided not to stay long. there were other activities to experience. Moving away from the horses and riders, we saw a neat modern building. There were a number of people were entering, so we decided to follow to check it out. The inside of the building had been designed to entertain visiting children. Several play areas had been set up around the room. One that struck me as a lot of fun, was a miniature farm area where the kids could practice their farming skills! From the children’s pavilion, we crossed a field past some heavy horses that were lazily munching hay. We passed the horses and went into a barn area that contained poultry. We were marveling at all the varieties of chickens when all of a sudden once of them got loose. A flurry of activity ensued until the "escapee" was captured and "re-incarcerated"! From the poultry barn we wandered over to the cattle judging ring. Here several proud 4-H members paraded their charges under the watchful gaze of the presiding judge. Eventually winners were announced and then a new crop of anxious youngsters paraded with their hesitant charges into the ring. As we were watching the judging, we noticed activity just to the south of us near the fairground fence line just by the grandstand. We walked over to it to find that the Norwood Fall Fair Parade was about to begin.
More to See...
We were fortunate enough to find front row seats on a pile of abandon cement blocks. The theme of the parade seemed to be “potatoes” as many of the floats contained “potatoes” costumes and decorations. The parade route made its way through the downtown, along the side roadway and then through the fair gates. It finally paraded directly in front of the fair grandstands, where an excited crowd waited in anticipation. This was a terrific parade, well organized, interesting and very family oriented! We enjoyed ourselves immensely. Once the parade was over we continued our explorations. One of Judi’s favorite places at any fair are the exhibits of crops and arts. As the Norwood Fall Fair themselves state … “No country fair is complete without a proud display of the hard work and talent that goes into running home and farm. The bushels of grain, the best of the gourd crop, and the hand-made wooly mittens are ready to meet the judges”. The Norwood Fair certainly surpassed our expectations. Please check out our photo of Judi with the “little” pumpkin so you too can see the excitement.
Antique Cars, Heavy Horses and More...
Back outside, we were dazzled by the fair's midway and its sea of people. We watched as families enjoyed the rides and all that the midway had to offer. The next building we entered was the G. A. Brethen Coliseum. Here long-time Peterborough CHEX-TV sportscaster Gary Dalliday was on stage with the Fair’s Ambassador Girls and other dignitaries. After leaving this area we discovered the Norwood Cruisers Fall Fair Car Show. There were a rows of classic and antique cars to wander through and admire. Walking through these beautiful vehicles brought back clear nostalgic memories for me, of time gone by. One of these nostalgic memories was that of a car like the one that my mother owned and that I use to drive! It was a 1962 Red Chevy Impala Convertible. I can’t count the number of times I nearly wrecked it, all without her knowledge. I certainly wish I had that car today! From the car show we strolled through a few more barns and then came across a big show ring. There was a heavy horse wagon competition about to take place. We found some seats and sat in awe of these powerful animals and their magnificent carriages. This competition seems to be the exclamation point of the Norwood Fall Fair! The clean well maintained buildings and grounds, the well organized events that seemed to be perfectly timed, and the obvious participation of many people, all summed up the essence of the Fair!! The Norwood Fall Fair, to me embodies my vision of all what a fall fair should and can be!
CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE