History of the Brome County Agricultural Society (BCAS)

Kimball Inn, 1855
Kimball Inn, 1855

In a newspaper article published in the Eastern Townships Advertiser in September 1963, the author Harry B. Shufelt cites Taylor’s history for his account of the early beginnings of the BCAS.

According to Shufelt, a public meeting was held on July 12, 1856 at the Inn of Albert Kimball in the village of Knowlton, Que., (presently Auberge Knowlton) to organize an agricultural society.

The Honourable Paul Holland Knowlton chaired the meeting and Nathaniel Pettes acted as secretary. The motion passed at that meeting, be it resolved that “ …whereas upwards of seventy people had already become members by signing the declarations and subscribing five shillings and upwards…” And the society was formed.

The first officers were George Boright, president, Asa Frary, vice-president, and Nathaniel Pettes, secretary-treasurer.

Later in July 1856 another meeting was organized to determine the list of premiums, the rules and the names of the judges for both a fall and a winter show.

The first financial report dated February 1857, showed receipts of 238 pounds, 13 shillings and 3 pence. The Government Allowance for support of the Society was 173 pounds, 19 shillings and 6 pence.

Brome Fair

As the Society grew and the Horticultural Society (formed in 1880) joined the agricultural exhibition, a larger, permanent location was needed. In 1891 in a by-law passed by the mayors of Brome, Sutton, East Farnham, East Bolton, West Bolton, Eastman and Knowlton, the present site of Brome Fair was determined.

Over the years many changes and improvements have taken place within the Society and on the Brome Fairgrounds but for thousands of visitors “all roads still lead to Brome on Labor Day weekend”.

A Short History Lesson

The provincial parliament passed the Agricultural Act entitled “An act to make more ample provision for the encouragement of agriculture.”

Brome County was formed out of parts of Stanstead, Shefford and Missisquoi counties in 1855. Then on July 12, 1856 with a subscription of more than 70 persons an organizing meeting was held with the Honorable P.H. Knowlton in the chair and Nathaniel Pettes appointed as secretary. The first president elected was George Boright with Asa Frary as vice-president.

In the beginning the Society organized two cattle shows a year, one in the fall and one in the winter. The first fall show was held on the first Wednesday of October, 1856 and the winter show was on the first Wednesday of January, 1857 in the village of Knowlton. The total expenditures was $954.00 with the government covering most of this with a grant for almost $700.00.

In 1861, it was decided to hold only one exhibition, in the fall. These continued to be held in Knowlton until 1890 when the directors bought 12 1/2 acres in Brome. In 1905, they increased their holdings to 18 acres, the current grounds for the Fair.

Past Presidents From 1856 to 2019

2001 to 2019

2019 Gaylon Davis 2015 Bill Miller 2011 Karen Crandall 2007 Bob Soles 2003 Larry Frizzle
2018 Jean Royea 2014 Gaylon Davis 2010 Gaylon Davis 2006 Ernie Banks 2002 Richard Cadarette
2017 Sophie Giroux 2013 Paul Santerre 2009 Dick Cadarette 2005 Karen Crandall 2001 Gaylon Davis
2016 Tom Enright 2012 Phil LeChasseur 2008 Barrie Paige 2004 Karen Crandall  

 1951 to 2000

2000 Ernest Banks 1990 R.K. Douglas 1980 Rod Crandall 1970 Rod Crandall 1960  J.C. Blackwood
1999 Donald Soles 1989 R.K. Douglas 1979 L.C. Horner 1969 Alan C. Webster 1959 Stanley Mount
1998 Larry Frizzle 1988 Alain Lavigne 1978 Yvon Menard 1968 John Beerwort 1958 Geo. Salisbury
1997 Lloyd Wright 1987 Larry Frizzle 1977 M. Crittenden 1967 Clyde Burbank 1957 Lawrence Draper
1996 Hugh Salisbury 1986 Grant Payne 1976 E. Vogel 1966 Ben Lavin 1956 L.C. Horner
1995 Gaylon Davis 1985 Rod Crandall 1975 Garth Hadlock 1965 J.A. Jolley 1955 Geo B. Mizener
1994 Alain Lavigne 1984 Hugh Salisbury 1974 Leverett Jewett 1964 L.P. Knowlton 1954 M.W. Miller
1993 James Robinson 1983 Garth Hadlock 1973 Wilson Frizzle 1963 Earl Marsh 1953 J.P. MacIntosh
1992 Diana Frizzle 1982 Donald Soles 1972 George Rogerson 1962 Léo Duquette 1952 Max Gagné
1991 Royce Dustin 1981 Royce Dustin 1971 Jerry Jackson 1961 Fred Shufelt 1951 Vollen Hastings

 1856 to 1950

1950 Gordon Perkins 1940 W.D. Soles 1930 George Cameron 1919 A.T. Woodley 1861 Eli W. Hall
1949 L.C. Horner 1939 S.C. Powers 1929 Dan Green 1918 Frank Strange 1860 Stephen Pettes
1948 A.T. Woodley 1938 Fred Perkins 1928 Dan Green 1917 F.A. Jewett 1859 Ezra G. Ball
1947 E.H. Foster 1937 Charles McClay 1927 Dan Green 1916 S. Courtney 1858 Levi A. Perkins
1946 H.C. Salisbury 1936 P.W. Taber 1926 A.T. Woodley 1915 J.M. Bryant 1857 Asa Frary
1945 Homer Salisbury 1935 A.C.Carter 1925 P.W. Taber 1914 Alex Burnet 1856 George Boright
1944 E.S. Bradley 1934 J.J. Crawford 1924 S.W. Courtney 1913 W. Safford    
1943 P.W. Taber 1933 J.J. Crawford 1923 A.C.Carter 1912 S. Courtney    
1942 Errol Marsh 1932 J.J. Crawford 1921 Mark Tibbits 1911 A. Harvey    
1941 George Mizener 1931 J.J. Crawford 1920 F.E. Ray 1890 H.G. Hall    

Some Interesting Facts:

  • Gaylon Davis has served 4 terms as a president.
  • Paul Santerre was the youngest president to be elected.
  • Rod Crandall and Larry Frizzle have each served three terms as president of BCAS.
  • Diana Frizzle was the first female president of the society.
  • Rod Crandall and Karen Crandall Allnutt are the only father/daughter presidents of the society.
  • Larry Frizzle and Diana Frizzle are the only husband and wife who have served as presidents

Members of

Association des expositions agricoles du Québec

Association des Expositions Agricoles du Québec
23 Ave. Ste-Brigitte Nord, C.P. 547
Montmagny, Quebec G5V 3S9

Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions

Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions
43 Eccles Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 6S3

Chambre de Commerce de Cowansville et région

104 rue Sud, Suite 100b
Cowansville, Qc J2K 2X2

Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies
Box 189
Glencoe, Ontario N0L 1M0
International Association of Fairs and Expositions International Association of Fairs and Expositions
P.O. Box 985
Springfield, MO 65801