In celebration of their 125th Anniversary, the Dauphin Ag Society will host the RCMP Musical Ride at the Grandstands at the Dauphin Fairgrounds on Thurs July 7, starting at 7pm. The barns will be open to the public on Wed July 6 and Thurs July 7 from 9am to 9pm so you can come out and meet the riders and horses! Tickets available at the Dauphin Co-op gas bars and the customer service desk at the Co-op grocery store.
For out-of-town requests, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets. Adult ticket price is $10, 13 – 17 years ticket price is $5, 12 and under are free.
The Dauphin Agricultural Society office is hidden in a rather out of the way corner of the Parkland Rec Centre in Dauphin and if you aren’t a member of the organization, you likely wouldn’t know it was there. Even living in Dauphin for the last 6 years, working in a position where you seemingly get to know every nook and cranny of the city, Dauphin still holds little surprises and thrills, and some of that lies in exploring the history of this unique community.
When I called to ask if anyone might be able to speak with me about the Ag Society’s 125th Anniversary, I was eagerly greeted by Pat Boyd, a joyful little woman who has been with the Ag Society for an impressive number of years. An easy stroll to the Rec Centre followed by a few wrong turns in the back channels of the building and I located the office, which, as the door opened, I realized must be holding all 125 years of documentation. Pat and I got into conversation immediately and I quickly realized that I would need to take notes. I love looking at images from what seems another world and this is how Pat told me the story of the Dauphin region and how the Ag Society was arguably the most critical element of its establishment. We combed through hundreds of fantastic pictures and laughed at some of the fascinating and seemingly absurd advertising of the day and eventually we moved into the story written down by this impressively old organization, and it is told as follows…
Around the year 1883, a pair of brothers by the name Nagle, were having one heck of a prosperous time in the rich valley, between the Duck and Riding Mountains. Coming home from delivering goods, the brothers stopped in Gladstone, Manitoba. Here they told the Whitmore family of the abundant hunting, fishing and the fertile, rich soil which supported fields of wild fruit and berries that turned red with lilies in the spring. That very summer, a party led by Tom Whitmore struck out from Gladstone to see the claims of the Nagle brothers for themselves. The party found the claims to be true and realizing the possibility of production in this otherwise unsettled region, decided to plant the first crops – the hearty potato. Carving their names in trees and staking out land for some of the first homesteads in the area, the group returned home after a total of two weeks. Although Whitmore led the initial exploration of the area, it was the Edwards family who traveled back that September to harvest their crop of potatoes. They decided to stay the winter of 1883-84, not only braving the extreme elements but doing so without the support of neighbours and the nearest supplies a 10 day trip, up to 200 miles away.
In 1890, Whitmore determined a need for pioneer families to gather in the newly settled region and decided to plan a fair to showcase produce and visit with friends, family and neighbours. It was a great success and the following year, Mr. Whitmore held the first official fair (Canadian Charter 30). This marked the inception of the first official club in Dauphin, an organization that continues to grow and flourish and proudly celebrates 125 years in 2016.
Although the fair is now held on the DMCC grounds (next to the rec centre), the fair was originally held south of the city. It was later moved to where the current Pioneer Park is, along the Vermillion River, and eventually to the site we know of today. The 125th Dauphin Agricultural Society Fair will be held July 1 – 3, 2016 at the DMCC Fairgrounds, right next to Dauphin’s Parkland Rec Complex. Find out more at www.dauphinagsociety.com
Thanks very much to local photographer, Dori Fee for letting us use some of these images from the 2015 Fair! You ca find more on Dori Fee’s photography on her Facebook Page
To learn more about the history of early settlers to the area, try, Dogtown to Dauphin (Adam S. Little, 1988)