“The first fair, held in 1854, was more like a sale. At first, the fairs were held at different farms but soon the idea of a central location to show and sell livestock, seed grains and implements, evolved and then became a quarterly event.” p58
“The first annual fair was in 1878 behind the old town hall on the Alfred Munger farm, north of King and near present day Church Street. The brick town hall, build in 1872, was used for exhibits of fruit, vegetables and ladies' work. There were 530 entries, and a long prize list. Other entries included horses, cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, grain and seeds, roots and field crops, and dairy products.”
“In 1884, a picnic drew close to 1,200 people and became an annual event… In 1902, additional land was added which had been the subject of public debate for 10 years. Volunteers built the half mile track, with 20 teams of horses to plow, harrow, roll and grade it. In 1905, 100 maple trees were planted, and they sought tenders to build a poultry house. By 1907 they were considering a three-day fair, and building a larger stable.
The Echo commented that unless one stood on a street corner and gazed at the great line of vehicles and mass of humanity that poured itself 3,000 strong into the gates, one could not appreciate what it meant for Colchester South to turn out to a fair. “ p58
The Harrow Fair is a well-loved tradition that spans Thursday to Sunday of the Labour Day Weekend. Locals and visitors from afar come to enjoy the 4-H shows, live entertainment, baking, arts and crafts competitions, auctions, rooster crowing contest and more. In 2022, after the fair was put on hold due to the Covid pandemic, thousands flocked to the 166th Harrow Fair - one of the first large public gatherings in two years. Neighbours, family, friends and new friends were thrilled to once again gather and celebrate the traditions of the Harrow Fair.