Goin’ Colonial in Lloyd

  • Tweet
  • Instagram
  • Small Instagram

Big little fair brings the city back to the country


Get prepared for an incredible time in Lloydminster
Photo provided by the Lloydminster Colonial Days

JEREMY DERKSEN

Lloydminster, AB — Growing up in rural southern Alberta, I remember the town fair as a special time when kids in hockey helmets rode bucking sheep and candy rained from the skies. A few years later, the same fairs offered me my first bittersweet taste of live rock’n’roll and slow dancing. I’ve grown up a little since then but a taste of cotton candy, dusty heat and midway music can still take me back.

“The fair is the heritage of our country,” says Michael Sidoryk, general manager of the Lloydminster Agricultural Exhibition Association. “If you really look back, everything always focuses around your local fair … a point for people to come, meet, laugh and enjoy themselves.”

Sidoryk would know. Lloydminster is home to one of the biggest and longest running of those fairs in Alberta, going all the way back to 1903, and Sidoryk has been involved in it since the early 1980s. As far as anyone knows, he says, the event has never missed a year, not for rain, drought, twister or plague.

Owing to its position straddling the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, the town once hosted two agricultural fairs a year — one on the Alberta side of town, one on Saskatchewan’s claim. Eventually, the two fairs merged into what is now Colonial Days.


Agriculture will be one of the big focuses during Colonial Days
Photo provided by the Lloydminster Colonial Days

Perhaps that staying power and sense of tradition is why the annual event draws more than 45,000 people each year, exceeding the entire population of the small prairie city (current population: 36,000). Or it could just be that folks here really know how to throw a party.


The city of Lloydminster has a long roster of events and festivals. Find out what all the fuss is about here.

START HERE

The current incarnation features five days of every kind of entertainment and activity imaginable. The anchor to it all is still the rodeo and agricultural exhibition, but over the years other performances and activities have piled on, until the 70-acre exhibition grounds swell at the seams: a grandstand show; two concert stages featuring live local acts and international headliners; a demolition derby; a sanctioned Canadian professional chuckwagon circuit race; an arts and crafts fair; a midway; and kids activities galore. Special guests for this year, the event welcomes the RCMP Musical Ride.

“Whatever we kind of dream, we build,” says Sidoryk, “It’s a great opportunity to grow and prosper and support the community.”

East of the Stampede, it’s about as big an ag fair as you’ll find. And yet the charm of that old, small town brand of hospitality and community celebration remains at the heart of Colonial Days.


Colonial Days has it all
Photo provided by Lloydminster Colonial Days

“It’s a city but it still has a small-town feel,” says Daphne Thompson. “Colonial Days is very sit-down-and-visit, it’s still small enough you can walk in, visit and get to know people.”

A longtime volunteer, she and her family have been attending the fair for more than 20 years, since her youngest was in diapers. Her kids grew up at the exhibition, variously volunteering, working or competing. Now, being seasoned regulars, they take advantage of on-site camping so that everyone can come and go as they please.

As for her kids, says Thompson, “They think it’s Disneyland.”

Find out more about things to do in Lloydminster.

Check out our festival overview for more information.

Like this story? Share it with your agriculture loving friends.