HISTORY OF THE OLIVER AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY
The first meeting of the Oliver Agricultural Society was held on January 9, 1890. In 1891 the fair board purchased its first piece of land. In 1892 the O.A.S received a grant of $100.00 from the township council and was able to enlarge the fair and prize money.
In 1905 the first ladies were asked to participate in preparing the prize list. A new piece of land was purchased and the old lot was sold. The committee then began canvassing for money to build a racetrack. W.D. Dalton presented a cup to the winner of the race that year. In 1909 plans for the new grandstand were drawn up, for building the following year. In 1911 the cow shed was built and that year there were 91 entries. In 1915 the Women’s Institute threatened to pull their support if horse racing continued. The Trotting Association offered a loan of $300.00 if the Oliver Agricultural Society would have horse racing. The loan was refused, the women were placated, and the races went on. The racetrack was conditioned so that car racing could take place as well, and it did for many years along with motor cross racing. The township of Oliver Paipoonge somehow now owns that racetrack.
In 1920 the first women directors were elected. Money was spent on improvements. At the end of the year, there were 109 paid members and a balance of $988.00. A special train carried visitors from the city to the fair to watch the races. In 1922 the Oliver Agricultural Society and the township council drilled a well and the fair progressed from there. Also that year a light horse barn was built. In 1924 Premier Hon. W.L.M. King attended our fair.
In 1952 the Oliver Agricultural Society joined with the Recreation Association to form a community center. In order for the center to come under the township act, the Oliver Agricultural Society had to deed a piece of property to the township, which it did in 1953 for $1.00. The Oliver Agricultural Society and township worked together since then to drill a second well and purchase another pump for the township. In 1984, the Lil’ Everett Exhibit Hall (The Blue Building) was constructed on the Oliver Agricultural Society property.
In 1992 a light horse barn was built and 1995-96 the cattle barn and poultry/rabbit barn along with a heavy horse barn were put in place. In 1997 the grandstands by the racetrack were condemned by township. We moved the stands from around the horse ring and had a new grandstand erected by the new horse ring for the Rodeo that were held in 1999 and 2000. A new Main Stage was built in 2006. In 2010 we put up a second horse ring and in 2012 we purchased a permanent rodeo ring. In 2016, the ring was once again expanded.
We now host a tractor show and parade with a few competitions as well. Each year we hope to have an expansion in this area.
In 2014 we began using online webentries for exhibits. So far the initiative has been well received. We will continue to offer this service. For those who don’t have a computer, entries will still be accepted beginning the Monday prior to the fair in the Lil Everett Exhibit Hall. (Times to be announced.) A computer will be available for your useto enter.
We have struggled with many ups and downs through the years but we keep going with thanks to all our directors and volunteers who have committed many long days and hours to keeping our country fair going. Like all non profit organizations we ask for support from businesses and individuals to keep us going. Without this support we would not be able to be celebrating our 125th year.