History of the Acton Fair

In the spring of 1913 the Town of Acton held a meeting at which many citizens came forward to support a “Fall Fair”. Previous to this meeting the Esquesing Fair had been held two years in Acton, then two years in Georgetown, starting in 1846.

For a period, from 1889 to 1892 the Acton Fair was called the Acton Union Fair and was a two-day fair held during the week.

Two well-known families, the Sprowls and the Somervilles, were exhibitors and won prizes.

In 1892 the Fair in Acton was known as the Acton Horticultural and Agricultural Exhibition.

In 1908 the Fair at Acton was advertised in the Acton Free Press – “Open to the World – Esquesing Fall Fair at Acton. Admission 25 cents, children 10 cents”.

In 1909 the Fair at Acton had 459 entries in horses alone.

In 1912 the Fair was held at Georgetown and the Acton Free Press was 3 cents a copy.

At the annual meeting of the township society held in January 1912, it was voted to cancel the alternating arrangements and hold the fair annually in Georgetown.

After the town meeting in the Spring of 1913, the committee formed canvassed the town for funds. The Free Press reported “they had been successful beyond the most sanguine expectations of the supporters of the project. Not only this, but the support had been so liberal that a most attractive prize list was assured.”

George Havill was elected President and George Hynds was elected Secretary-Treasurer.

The Acton Free Press advertised in 1913 – “Acton Fall Fair – Open to the World – Tuesday and Wednesday, September 23 and 24, 1913.”

Other notable points of interest as the years passed and the fair grew:

First government grant for $300.00
1914Hall opened, 200 viewed the exhibits – $21.00 taken at gate
1921$91.00 rain insurance collected
1923$1.20 deficit. Admission raised to 35 cents next year
1930Arena completed
1942Fair opened for first time on Friday and Saturday
1953Grandstand rebuilt
196350th Anniversary – Miss Acton competition started
1974Fair extended to 3 days
2013100th Anniversary

As we look back over the years we realize that we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to officers and members of the early fairs.

Acton Fair has carried on through wartime, depression and rainy fair days.

It is the hope of the Acton Agricultural Society that this history will be of interest to all who read it.

Excerpts taken from – 50th Anniversary Committee, Mac Sprowl Speech 1988