Hants County Exhibition
First established in 1765, the Hants County Exhibition is the oldest continuously run agricultural fair in North America. Historically the property was developed and continues to be maintained by the Windsor Agricultural Society for the primary purpose of hosting an annual agricultural exhibition to promote agricultural awareness. Over the years the exhibition has evolved in a manner that has developed the assets, improved the site and been successful in fulfilling the Society’s goal of hosting an annual exhibition event for the region..
The Windsor Agricultural Society
Hants County Exhibition Park continues to be owned and maintained by the Windsor Agricultural Society for the primary purpose of hosting an annual agricultural exhibition. The Society generates all operating income to maintain and upgrade the facility through yearly exhibition revenues, and other facility and equipment rentals. The facility has very little property debt and has never gone to municipal governments for funding.
When the Wentworth Road location was purchased in 1949, the Society incorporated, giving it legal status to allow for borrowing money and participating in government grants. Money was and is borrowed to build infrastructure when necessary. Most recently in 2012,
“The Dexter Construction Mary Henry Equi-Centre” was financed and built by the Society to improve our venue, and to better meet the needs of the local equestrian community.
The Society accesses federal and provincial grant programs when possible. The most recent being in 2011, a cost sharing project with the province to replace the industrial
building roof, and with ACOA in 2013 to purchase three mobile bleachers big enough to seat 500 people.
The Windsor Agricultural Society currently has 15 volunteer directors and over 70 volunteer committee members. During spring, summer and fall months there are six seasonal employees and up to 25 part time employees as events warrant.
Contributing to our Community Hockey Rink:
Since the early 1950’s, and even after fire destroyed the original in January
1981, a community hockey rink has always been provided by the Windsor Agricultural Society to the Town of Windsor, rent free. Unlike most municipal governments, the Town of Windsor and its residents have never had to finance the construction or yearly debt of an arena for hockey.
The Society is always receptive to donating to community causes – 8’ tables, chairs, picnic tables, bleachers and many other types of equipment is available for events. Community organizations also operate booths at the Exhibition for fundraisers.
In the tradition set by the earliest Agricultural Society, the Windsor Agricultural
Society has contributed to the local community by purchasing equipment that can be shared by local farmers.
Education & Scholarship:
The Windsor Agricultural Society offers an annual scholarship
to a local student pursuing a post secondary education in agriculture. A total of $35,000 has been donated to date. This year we are hosting Future Farmers Friday, an educational event for local school children.
Enigma Research Corporation (research specialists) conducted research on Canadian Fairs in 2008. Results show the gross economic impact of Hants County Exhibition grounds in Windsor is in excess of $3 million dollars a year.
There will be many challenges to maintain the infrastructure and community usefulness. As long as the Windsor/West Hants area grows and the Windsor Agricultural Society continues to adapt and meet the needs of the community, the Society should continue to find its niche in the area.