Back in 1984,
Ontario was celebrating its bi-centennial anniversary. MP Bill Scott approached local Kinmount resident Mark Brelsford about creating a pioneer display as Kinmount’s contribution to bi-centennial celebrations. A display in the arena featured demonstrations by local craftspeople and a pioneer cabin and drive shed created by a group of friends. The display was a huge success! In fact, it was so impressive, Bill Scott and fellow fair board members asked the display be expanded and presented at the approaching Kinmount Fair and as the saying goes, the rest is history!
The theme of the first display was “The Early Settlers of Kinmount”. Put together by Eva Stender, Bruce & Patti Fleury and Mark & Roni Brelsford, these folks really were true “pioneers”. Everything on display came from their homes. Most of the handcrafts demonstrated were their hobbies. Lorraine Swinson helped erect a tent Bruce borrowed from the Scarborough Boy Scouts.
About 200 people viewed the display.
The event grew each year.
More people got involved.
Though a sub-committee of the Kinmount Agricultural Society, the group came up with their own logo and called themselves a “Pioneer Society” in order to promote the Pioneer Display. It was never registered as an historical society. It was a very casual, ad hoc group, putting on one exhibit annually at Kinmount Fair.
In 1986, the first tearoom was established. Here, visitors found a comfortable place to linger with a cup of tea and cookie while savouring the flavour of the exhibit. As well, funds generated helped defray incurred costs. Each year the tea garden expanded with help from the Kinmount Civic Action Group (later to become the Kinmount Committee for Planning & Economic Development). The Senior’s Group helped with baking and the general store continued to grow.
Crafts demonstrators were provided a venue to sell wares.
By 1991, the rental tent had grown to a whopping 140’x 80’ in size. Now an integral part of Kinmount Fair, the display had become far too much work to set up in just a few days. In 1992, after being approached by Mark Brelsford, the fair board had a retaining wall and pad installed for a future permanent building. The building would house artefacts and staging props for the display.
For the last time, the large rented tent was used.
The following year Kinmount Fair saw the official opening of two newly constructed buildings that included plans for an adjoining roof to be added in the future. This major project was made possible through the support of the commmunity and the generosity and hard work of a smaller group of individual. By 1996, during Kinmount Fair's 125th year, about 20,000 people visited the Pioneer Display.
The Pioneer Display involves planning from:
Kinmount Pioneer Society
Kinmount Fair Board
& many Artisans & Exhibitors
Planning takes place throughout the year.
Meetings are work session as well as social gatherings.
Guests often set a spell to enquire about things they wish to know or share invaluable information about things they do know!
Kinmount Pioneer Society - History in the Making!
Visit Kinmount Fair
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