West Niagara Agricultural Centre & Fairgrounds is owned and operated by the West Niagara Agricultural Society (WNAS) and is home to the West Niagara Fair. It provides a venue for weddings, tradeshows, horse shows and other agricultural and non-agricultural events.
West Niagara Agricultural Society
The WEST NIAGARA AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY was formed in 2012 through the amalgamation of the former Lincoln Agricultural Society (LAS) and Smithville Agricultural Society (SAS). These non-profit organizations had each operated for over 150 years in the Lincoln and West Lincoln communities. After the sale of land owned by LAS in downtown Beamsville, it was decided that joining the two societies at a new central, rural location in Grassie (West Lincoln) with a new facility, would make a stronger organization. On a 95 acre parcel of land at the corner of Mud Street and Grimsby Mountain Road, the new WEST NIAGARA AGRICULTURAL CENTRE AND FAIRGROUNDS opened its doors in 2015 and has been going strong ever since.
At our facility we are able to offer a spectacular venue for year round events – for our community to gather, celebrate and be entertained! Some examples are horse shows, dog shows, festivals, fundraising banquets, craft shows and wedding receptions. And of course, our annual WEST NIAGARA FAIR! We are proud of what we have accomplished and what we have to offer to our community.
Agricultural Societies are formed under the Agricultural and Horticultural Societies Act and are mandated by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). Our main mission is to promote and provide agricultural education through a variety of programs and showcases throughout the year.
Agricultural societies have a long history in Canada. “The Agricultural Society of Upper Canada” was organized at Niagara in 1791. After decades of evolving from “a group of gentlemen farmers who met to discuss the technical aspects of agriculture and to hear learned papers read”, there are now over 200 societies just in Ontario alone.
Our Society is composed of members, and governed by a Board of Directors, all of who are VOLUNTEERS and who live in the surrounding communities coming from all walks of life. The day to day operation of the facility, and all fundraising events, including the Fair, are planned and executed by our members with the help of part time employees.
West Niagara Fair
The WEST NIAGARA FAIR is always held the weekend after Labour Day.
The Fair acts as a meeting place and provides 3 days of family friendly entertainment, great food, and displays and demonstrations to be enjoyed by the whole community.
The Fair issues an annual challenge to not only farmers, but to all community members, of all ages, to present their best in an arena of open competition. Not only livestock, but baking, cooking, all kinds of crafts, photography, antiques, art and talent. And let’s not forget the demolition derbies and the tractor pulls.
The Fair provides a venue for local businesses to sell their wares, and for agricultural commodity groups to educate the public and introduce and promote their cause.
Fairs are almost as old as recorded history. In the 1700’s the British crossed the agricultural improvement society with the traditional trade fair/carnival and agricultural fairs were born.
These agricultural fairs were transplanted to the colonies by the earliest British settlers. The concept of fairs soon flourished in North America. In Canada, the first agricultural society was formed in 1765 in Nova Scotia. Ontario followed suit in 1791 with the Agricultural Society of Upper Canada based at Niagara on the Lake. After a few false starts, the system of agricultural societies and their fairs spread all over Ontario in the 1800’s. They were organized by county and township and at one time numbered over 500 in Ontario alone. While agricultural societies used many methods (of varying success) to improve agriculture and the rural lifestyle, their most enduring and endearing legacy was the agricultural fair. Industrial exhibitions and festivals came and went, but the fairs just carried on. Fairs soon became an ingrained part of Ontario’s (and indeed Canada’s) culture. They still are, in our society.
The first Beamsville Fair was held October 8, 1857 while the first Smithville Fair was held in 1878. There were many other fairs in what was referred to as “Lincoln County” but by the end of the Second World War, Smithville and Beamsville fairs were the only two left standing. They were also hosted by agricultural societies that owned their own land. These two fairs and agricultural societies carried on until the amalgamation in 2012. Fairs have evolved over the decades from being held in local fields and town halls in small rural villages to multiple day events at modern, large fairgrounds.
All fairs continue to evolve and stay relevant to how society changes but still maintain that “traditional country fair” feeling!