Rockton World’s Fair Rockton, Ontario

We kicked off our fall adventures by travelling to the Greater-Hamilton area to hit up Rockton World’s Fair. Carly, Jenny, and I set off on the chilly Friday evening of Thanksgiving weekend, along with Honourary Tour Member, Breanne. As always, hilarity ensued during the car ride there. We caught up on stories and giggled away, stopping to pride ourselves whenever a particularly good word was used. (We’re always looking to expand our vocabularies.) It became darker by the minute as we drove the country roads to Rockton, past cornfields and the occasional house. It was the perfect fall setting on this October night.

A friendly, colourful sign greeted us as we excitedly entered the fairgrounds. Characteristically, our first thoughts as we entered the Fair were all about food. So we split up – Carly and Breanne tracked down a bacon sandwich and some funnel cake, respectively. Jenny and I went for some hot chocolate to keep cozy and also split a bag of tasty mini donuts sprinkled with cinnamon. As Jenny noted, we were at a fair, after all. When in Rome! Snacks in hand, we headed to watch the Demolition Derby, one of the many attractions of the Fair. We sat in the bleachers where we had a prime view of the dusty ring, and the cars then paraded in one by one. I’d say we spent the majority of the time trying to figure out the rules. We had fun picking which car we thought would win each match, mainly basing our choices on aesthetic value (“Ooh, that one’s pretty.”) The commentator offered some colourful insight into the rules of the game and we slowly caught on. Having watched a few rounds, we then set off for a walk around the fairgrounds to take in more of the sights.

Visiting the animals was definitely a priority. There were different animals present on each night of the Fair. The sheep and goats were scheduled for later that weekend, but we did get to see some majestic horses and cute cows. We’re no farm animal experts, but we contemplated the different types of cows, giving them our own descriptive names like panda cow, donkey cow, and pink cow. You just had to be there to understand the thought process!

From there, we popped in and out of some of the buildings – first up was the craft building where we saw so many delightful and unique gift ideas, from trinkets to canned preserves to costumes. Next up was a building which featured displays of prize-winning foods. All sorts of vegetables and extravagantly-decorated pumpkins were lined up with the red, yellow, and blue ribbons placed proudly by the winners. We wondered about the criteria for judging vegetables and even disagreed with some of the judges’ selections. The gourds really got us fired up, which then led into a side-splitting tangent about the word gourd and a discussion around the various types of gourds. Again, you had to be there. The decorated pumpkins were especially impressive – they were creatively painted and accessorized rather than being traditionally carved.

Another building hosted more food competitions – this time it was all about baked goods. Everything from muffins, cookies, cupcakes, and scones, all were meticulously critiqued and the appropriate colour ribbons were doled out accordingly. Again, not sure how one judges the art of the chocolate chip cookie – they all looked scrumptious to me.

The Fair also hosted an impressive midway which we had fun walking through, taking in the festive sights and sounds. That brought us to the end of our night which was rounded out by our eventful drive home as we unintentionally took a bit of a scenic route. But it was all par for the course – we got to take in more of the country roads and enjoyed the spooky nighttime setting. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to experience a fall fair, since there are many that take place at this time of year in the area.

– Kristin

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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