The Albion Bolton Agricultural Society was organized in Bolton in 1857. It is surmised that Fairs has been held prior to the because the Society began with a balance of $4.77. Fairs were held in hotel yards and on King Street, between Mill and James Streets. With no sidewalks on the south side of the street, foot races and egg races were held here. Grains and Vegetables were on display in the Town Hall (King Street East). In 1862 the Fair was held for one year in Sandhill, but subsequently returned to the village of Bolton.
In 1868, 2.5 acres was purchased from Mr Stork for $250.00 (Paid in five annual installments) and Bolton Fairgrounds laid roots at its present site, 150 Queen Street South. A 32′ x 60′ hall (with no floor) was built in 1872, the same year the Fair was incorporated, and a two-day Fair was held this year. The Following year the Society raised admission prices from 10 cents to 15 cents.
In 1877, the name changed to Albion & Bolton Agricultural Society. More land was purchased in 1889, and again in 1895. By 1900 there was a roofed grandstand and a racetrack.
In 1935 the Poultry Palace was built by Albert Stubbs, a local carpenter and it still is a part of the Bolton Fairgrounds. Old MacDonald’s Farm was added in 1965; this 30′ x 96′ pole barn was built by Wes Penelton.
The growing Fair has many firsts: 1960, the Centennial year of the Fair, the stone gate posts were erected, and the first Fair Parade was held. 1967 saw first Fair Queen Competition (Katie Litz Below was Fair Queen, and Ruth Verner Craig was Centennial Queen in authentic costume). In 1971 the new area was opened by Bill David on the Fair property, and the agreement was that the Agricultural Society could use it for the Fair – there now was a new Exhibit Hall!
Funds were raised in 1985 and souvenir plates given to donors. This led to the construction and 1990 opening of the President’s Building.
Since Centennial year, the Board has had many challenges, such as suggestions and offers to sell the property, the increasing diversity of the town and continuing to host well attended events. Many interesting events have made their appearance at our Fair: Truck and Tractor Pull, Horse Pull, Tug of War, Mutt Show, Spelling Match, Fair Queens and Pig Kissing. Many stalwart events and displays at the fair continue to draw exhibitors and visitors: Homecrafts, 4H Events, Beef, Dairy, Sheep and Goats shows, Music, and the Demolition Derby to name but a few.
The Albion and Bolton Agricultural Society is a group of enthusiastic volunteers who spend many months preparing for the Truck and Tractor Pull and Bolton Fall Fair; two large events bringing the rural and urban people of our town together.