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Head to Muskoka September 15-17 for a taste of country living at the 150th Bracebridge Fall Fair & Horse Show.
Folks who think that Muskoka shutters up after Labour Day should consider a trip to Bracebridge, Ontario this autumn to attend one of the most charming family events of the colourful season. For 150 years, locals and visitors alike have gathered in this picturesque town to celebrate the farming season, to recognize their neighbours’ harvest fare and handiwork, and to enjoy great fun and entertainment while they do.
Always held in mid-September, the timing of the fair means that the air in the mornings is cool and crisp, and the sun warms things up by afternoon. Leaves are just starting to change and provide a stunning background of a packed weekend of events at the impressive J.D. Lang Park (right beside Highway 11 north).
Hail The Country Harvest!
First and foremost an agricultural celebration, a visit to the Bracebridge Fall Fair is an opportunity for families to connect to the land and its bounty.
The great hall is lined with winning entries in multiple contest categories, from baking and canning to field, garden and orchard produce. Homestead skills are on display as well, including incredible fibre arts and quilting.
Best in Show animal competitions include ribbons for cattle, poultry, rabbits, sheep and goats. Attendees can get up close to these amazing creatures and learn what’s involved in their care, as well as the role they play in our food system. The Super Dogs will appear in three shows on Saturday, and new this year check out the “Celebrity Pig Races.”
The Junior Fair is always a favourite of attendees, with entries from local school kids in dozens of categories laid out for folks to peruse – be sure to watch for their weird-shaped vegetables. Also watch for the formidable winner of the annual “Giant Vegetable Weigh-In” to have your photo taken with this year’s Grand Champ.
Horse Competitions & Other Main Events
For over a hundred years, the Bracebridge Fall Fair has been an opportunity for rural residents to showcase their skills associated with country living. Attendees will be impressed by the displays in multiple equine competitions, from the ‘Open Horse Show’ and ‘Light and Heavy Draft Horse Pull’ to the popular ‘Pony Show.’
Other competitions that delight the crowds include the annual ‘Antique Tractor Pull,’ the ‘Fire Department Challenge Cup’ and the ‘Lawn Tractor Pull.’
The lights and sounds of the travelling midway in action will attract kids young and old. Take a twirl on numerous fun-filled rides (and ride as many times as you want when you buy a bracelet pass). Step right up to the traditional carnival games where over-sized stuffed animals are up for grabs to whomever hooks a fish, rings a bottle or squirts a water gun on the target.
Great Eats & Entertainment
All weekend long the Bracebridge Fall Fair features live entertainment performances by some of the most popular artists in Muskoka. Friday night kicks off with a toe-tapping, hand-clapping performance by the band Dirty Dishes, playing their signature 1950s Nashville sound.
Additional performances at the fair will include Michelle Guy and the Fellin’ Good Band, the Olde Tyme Gospel Band, the Northern Lights Steel Band, Muskoka Dance Connection, and the award-winning fiddle and step dancing group, The Dawydchuk Family.
Plenty of exceptional food vendors are onsite as well to serve up delicious treats, and vendors of all sorts will be selling additional wares. The Mayor of Bracebridge, Graydon Smith, will welcome one and all at the Opening Parade on Saturday, September 16th, which will also feature The Royal Canadian Legion Pipe Band and a ‘First Nations Thanksgiving for 150 Years’ presentation.
Free on-site parking is available at the fairgrounds, and new this year there will be free parking and shuttle from Canadian Tire and St. Dominic’s High School to the Monica Lane gate (runs Saturday from 11am-7pm and Sunday from Noon-4pm).
More to See and Do in Fall
Make a weekend of it in Muskoka and discover all there is to do here in fall, from hiking on one of many great trails, to paddling or cruising on the Muskoka River, to walking over the iconic falls in town (named one of Ontario’s Top Ten Historic Downtowns). If golf is your game, there are four great courses in the vicinity of town, and there are plenty of winding country roads (that will be lined with colourful trees) to tour by automobile.