Who We Are

The Markdale Agricultural Society is a vibrant community of volunteers who share a profound passion for agriculture and our local area. As a volunteer-run organization, we dedicate ourselves to nurturing and promoting agricultural awareness, while also enhancing the quality of life within our community. Our volunteers are the heart of our society, bringing together diverse experiences and a shared commitment to stewardship, conservation, and community enrichment. The Markdale Agricultural Society is dedicated to fostering a deep appreciation of agriculture and enhancing the quality of life for those in our agricultural community. Our mission is centered on understanding and addressing the unique needs of the agricultural sector through innovative programs. We host engaging agricultural exhibitions with competitions and award prizes to celebrate excellence in farming practices. Additionally, we are committed to the conservation of natural resources and the beautification of our rural landscape. We actively support and provide venues for community activities that enrich rural living.

Our Fall Fair

In 2024 we are thrilled to present the 166th Markdale Fall Fair. Thank you to our Senior Ambassador – Sydney Martin, Junior Ambassador – Elsie LeMaitre, board members, Ag Society Members, and the local community for your continued and unwavering support.

Our Community, Our Story

Our Sponsors

Ambassador Competition

The Markdale Agricultural Society is always looking for representation of our fair and our community.
Youth between the ages of 9-13 and 17-21 are encouraged to take part in our Ambassador program.
There are so many benefits to this program, the biggest being personal growth. Participation looks fantastic on a resume and there are endless opportunities to meet new people, make new friendships and create lasting connections in the fair community.

Become a Vendor

Interested in registering as a vendor at our next Fall Fair? From food trucks to special attraction performers, we’d love to see you at the fair.

Our Board of Directors

Wayne Shier

I often mention that "My family helped carve Highway 10 out of the bush" My roots in the community run deep. I grew up in Artemesia Township, now a part of Grey Highlands, with agriculture being a constant in my life. About 18 years ago, I started leading the Centre Grey 4-H Beef Club and managing our achievement show at the Markdale Fall Fair. Since then, I've been an active member of the Society, serving on the board for several years and now in my 4th year as President. This role has allowed me to meet many wonderful people, as we work to promote agriculture and engage in community projects. The Markdale Ag Society is thriving, especially with the younger generation bringing new ideas and continuing traditions. A fun fact about me – I'm a die-hard fan of the Leafs. It's been challenging over the years, but just like in farming, I always hold onto hope that next year will be better.

Ruth Ann Hellyer

Hello, I am Ruth Ann Hellyer, the secretary-treasurer of the Markdale Agricultural Society. I was born in Markdale and raised in the community of Lauriston, west of Markdale where I was encouraged by my parents and grandparents to enter in the fair (as they had done). I joined the Society board when I became old enough. That first year I helped with the field crop class and attended my first Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies District 10 spring meeting in Kincardine where I got "hooked" in the networking opportunities within the fair community. Fast forward fifty-one years, I am helping the Markdale Society as they get ready to host the 2024 OAAS District 10 Spring meeting. Over the span of my Society membership I worked in the city (yes, traveling a couple of hours to attend monthly meetings), and since retiring, have served on most committees and roles in both the local Society and the District level. Even being the Homecraft Director for Grey-Bruce on the Ontario board. This has made me very aware of how critical it is to help others understand agriculture. Many are now generations away from growing and raising their food, or even knowing how to use agricultural products. So to promote rural living, how to protect the environment, all while entertaining people at a fair, is something I can get completely behind. This need was humorously demonstrated by a friend recounting that while she worked at the Royal Winter Fair, she was shocked to hear a tour leader tell a class of students that -"maple syrup came from milking squirrels!"

Elaine Smyth

1st Vice President
I am Elaine Smyth and currently, I’m the Vice-President of the Markdale Agricultural Society. I was born and raised on a farm just east of Berkeley and lived there until I was 9 years old. In 1970, my parents moved to Markdale. I have been involved with the Markdale Fall Fair since childhood. My mother was a Director on the Board at one time and my passion for the fair comes from her. I have many fond memories of attending the fair with my mother and father over the years. I have been a member of the Markdale Agricultural Society since 1994 and have held most of the positions on the Board, at least once! We have a great group of volunteers that work very hard to put on the fair each year and while we can run into many roadblocks and frustrations, we always come out the other side planning for the next year's fair! I hope to see the Markdale Agricultural Society expand to offer classes that promote the homecraft arts. I’m always on the hunt to find individuals interested in starting a 4-H club so our youth population can get involved in agriculture. At present, I’m retired from Grey Bruce Health Services (now known as Brightshores Health Systems) but I work part time for a driving service, driving clients to and from the airport. I live east of Berkeley once again, just around the corner from that farm I grew up on!

Reuben McCallum

I became a member of the Markdale Agricultural Society in 2022, introducing the Markdale Cruise Night Car Show to the organization. My association with the Markdale fair dates back to my early childhood. Raised on a farm, my upbringing fostered a deep-rooted interest in agriculture and tradition. I am enthusiastic about contributing to the evolution of this fair, supporting its growth and community. The fair provides an excellent opportunity to showcase the diverse offerings of our agricultural community while upholding cherished traditions. Fun fact about me- I have planted a veggie garden every year since I was 14 and preserve my harvest, adding canning to my skill set in 2022!

Nancy Strutt

2nd Vice President
I have been an active member of the Markdale Agriculture Society for over 35 years. I was born and raised in downtown Burlington on a Market Garden farm. Gord and I met at the University of Guelph and moved to this area in 1976 when I secured a teaching job. We purchased our farm a year later and raised our 3 children there. I love to promote agriculture and have been involved with every aspect of the fair. Now, my grandchildren participate at the fair. In the future, I hope that we can encourage the new residents of Markdale to voice their ideas and joins us in becoming members and participating at the fair.

Sharon Ludlow

My name is Sharon Ludlow and I have been a member of MAS since 2009. I grew up on a small farm at the top of Beaver Valley. My family had a large vegetable garden, flowerbeds and we raised a variety of animals. Helping with these was a wonderful learning opportunity and gave me a sense of responsibility. Today my family has a large vegetable garden and many flower gardens. Growing things is a pleasure and a beautiful thing to share, so I like to enter both flowers and vegetables in the Markdale Fall Fair. I love working outside which allows me to enjoy picturesque landscapes, sunrises and changes in seasons. In the winter I also enjoy cross country skiing on the trails around us. I have enjoyed belonging to MAS but looking toward the future it is essential to try to increase the participation of younger people in our organization. One of my fondest memories from when I was younger was going to the Markdale Fair. Hopefully we can continue this tradition of having enjoyable activities and encouraging participation from everyone, especially our youth, so that they can have great memories of it too.

Heather McTaggart

Born and raised in Owen Sound, I moved to Flesherton 10 years ago. In 2023, I joined the Markdale Agricultural Society with the hope of bringing a fresh approach and vision to encourage its longevity. I enjoy attending the Markdale Fall Fair and look forward to diving into all the society offers, aiming to introduce new events to the community. Passionate about community involvement, I hope to inspire younger individuals to join and contribute to the society's vibrant future.

Jacquelene Fitzsimmons

64 years of my life were spent in London Ontario. I had never lived anywhere else! My husband and I decided it was time for a change. His family was from the Markdale area and we were spending most weekends up here. We took the leap faith and moved to Markdale a place we enjoyed so much! I loved entering the Fall Fair. So when we moved here, our cousin convinced me to become a member. It has been 3 years and I think I finally know the difference between dairy and beef cattle. I work with others on the Horticultural Section of the fair and together we do fundraising for the Agricultural Society as well. I love the support of the local businesses and the people in this small town. The sense of community is very strong and evident. I am so excited that so many young people have joined the Agricultural Society . They have brought great ideas and have perspectives to lead us into the future. I can’t wait to watch us transform with their energy and commitment.

Cultivating Community, Harvesting Tradition

Markdale Agricultural Society

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