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The Dauphin Agricultural Society was established in 1892. Its goals have always been to promote all facets of agriculture in the Dauphin region, as well as encourage area youth to know and love agricultural pursuits. These goals are promoted through its annual Dauphin Fair.
The first Dauphin Fair was held in 1897 and grew substantially from year to year. The first Seed Grain Show was a part of the 1906 fair. In 1907, horse racing was added to the festivities as well as a sports program. In 1909, school exhibits were instituted. The Society assisted in the construction of exhibition facilities including midway and grandstand attractions.
The annual fair continued to add other activities such as a dressed poultry show in 1913. In 1919, the Dauphin Agricultural Society joined the Manitoba Agricultural Fairs Association and then the Canadian Trotting Association upon it's establishment. The Society was previously a member of the American Trotting Association. The Society became economically challenged in the 1920s following its rapid expansion program, but Dauphin town and rural councils came to the Society's aid in 1922 when it assumed the Society's mortgage debt and other liabilities in return for the property assets. The financial situation of the Dauphin Agricultural Society greatly improved following this measure.
With its financial situation somewhat improved, the Dauphin Agricultural Society expanded its programs. In 1933, the first agricultural representative for Dauphin was elected and supported by the Agricultural Society. In 1937, crop competitions were added and a rural youth training plan committee was introduced. Around 1950, the directorate of the Dauphin Agricultural Society decided to improve the fair facilities so that it could accomodate larger crowds. With federal and local government assistance, the Society moved its facilities to a new location at the Dauphin Memorial and Community Centre site. An arena and curling rink were built, in part, to house fair exhibitions.
Throughout the years, the Summer Fair continued to expand. The youth training program was a great success. A Home Economist was acquired in 1951 when the extension service realized that the girls' program for 4-H clubs required a full-time supervisor. That same year, a Seed Grain show was held in conjunction with the Short Course, adding to it the very popular Bacon Carcass Show. In 1966, a Youth Leadership course replaced the Short Course. A Sheep and Swine Show and Sale was added to the Society's programs in 1954. It became an annual event until a dearth of entries caused its cancellation in 1969.
From 1957 to 1960, the Dauphin Agricultural Society presented the Manitoba Shorthorn regional show, the Hereford regional show, and the sheep regional show. The 4-H Regional Rally became one of the most popular of the Society's programs. Dauphin Fairs began to take on a more western flare in 1964 with the introduction of Rodeo programs, western breakfasts, western horse racing, chuckwagon races, horseshoe tournaments, and a western orchestra.
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MSS 209 (A.96-39).