Established 150 years ago to encourage understanding between rural and urban communities, the Niagara Regional Agricultural Exhibition — home of the Welland Fair — is one of the best celebrations of local life in all its variety in and around Niagara. Held each September on the second weekend after Labour Day, the Welland Fair offers the best in family fun and entertainment with horse shows, livestock shows, live music, a baby contest, agricultural displays, a carnival, and more. If you’re looking to take a family vacation to Niagara, make sure it falls on the weekend of September 17 — 20, so you can see these five must-see fair attractions and countless others.
1. The Fun-est Baby Contest
Held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, the baby contest is a perennial crowd favorite. Babies are separated into age groups and genders — they can be anywhere from newly born to 24 months in age — and from there the categories run the gamut. However, the emphasis is always on fun, which is why the judges look for the following characteristics:
- Chubbiest cheeks
- Curliest hair
- Best dancer
- Longest toes
- And plenty more!
2. Demolition Derby
If you love watching cars and trucks run into each other in real life in a controlled environment where precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of the participants, then the Welland Fair’s Demolition Derby is for you. One of the most popular events held each year at the fair, this year’s Derby will take place on Saturday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. Vehicles will race and smash until 11 p.m.
3. Racing Pigs
If you’ve never seen pigs race one another on their quest for a tasty treat, it’s both adorable and hilarious. Celebrity Pig Races puts on animal races all weekend long that include not just pigs, but ducks, goats, and geese, too. Place friendly bets with your family members, and if you want, you can even sponsor a pig or other racing animal by contacting the fair office.
4. The Ken Jen Petting Zoo
Whether or not you have little ones with you, the Ken Jen petting zoo is worth a visit. Deer, pigs, llamas, camels, a donkey—a whole menagerie is on display and available for petting and feeding. All the animals are hand-raised from birth so they’re completely comfortable with people. They all have names and well-known personalities. For a chance to get up close and personal with an animal who will enjoy being petted as much as you enjoy petting it, the Ken Jen petting zoo offers unparalleled fun throughout the entire weekend of the fair.
5. Magic Shows
Another highlight of every Welland Fair is the agriculturally themed magic shows put on by Daniel Steep, an illusionist who holds a Guinness World Record. Adults and kids will all be entertained and educated about the importance of farming and farmers in Canada through Steep’s funny and interactive magic show.
For farm- and community-centered fun that’s feels like it’s from another time, head to the Welland Fair. It’s just one more reason the Niagara region makes such a fantastic place to visit.