The Vauxhall Agricultural Society had 50 members when it was chartered in 1957. The first president was James Reid, First Vice-Lucien Claeys, Second Vice-John Klassen and Secretary-Treasurer-Raymond Skretting.
The First Agricultural Fair was held on September 11, 1957. It included a parade, rodeo, cattle judging, sheep dog herding, horse show, calf sale, poultry, home baking, handicrafts, flowers, grains, canning and school displays. A baseball tournament ran all day and the day ended with a harvest ball.
In 1963, the Ag Society purchased 9.6 acres from Jules Claeys. This is land that our present day recreation complex is located on and all of the 3rd St. North subdivision.
The Ag Society was dormant from 1970 to 1976, due to lack of volunteers, but it was reorganized in 1976 to sponsor the Farmers’ Markets. Also in 1976, a $100,000 grant was received by the Ag Society from Alberta’s government to help build our new recreation complex. From 1977 to 1979 the land owned by the Ag Society was gradually sold to the town of Vauxhall for $1.
Mini Fairs were organized in the 1980’s. There were 3 shows: flowers and potted plants; fruits, vegetables and field crops; baking, handicrafts, photography and school displays. In 1990, the fairs were reorganized and we now have 4.
Also in the 1980’s, Performing Arts Concerts were sponsored to bring various groups to Vauxhall. They included instrumental bands, singers, dancers and big name artists like Ian Tyson. This added to the cultural dimension of our community.
Thousands of dollars have been donated over the years for improvements at the complex. A Public Address system was purchased and installed in 1977. In 1982, a ramp was built; in 1986, baffles were installed and in 1987, a steam table was purchased. Over the years, tables and chairs have been purchased. Stoves were purchased in 1997 and a trophy cabinet was installed. In 2002, a new bar was built in the hall and paid for by the Ag Society. Large donations have also been given to the Town for improvements to the complex roof in 1996 and painting the exterior of the complex in 2014. Significant contributions have also been made to help pay utility costs at the complex.
In 1985 the Ag Society began hosting an Ethnic Supper in Vauxhall. This featured dishes from different ethnic groups in the district. It brought people together and became so popular, that it became an annual event until 2010.
Since 1988, the Vauxhall Ag Society has donated to STARS. The proceeds of the Ethnic Supper were originally used, but these donations have continued since the discontinuation of the suppers. In 1998, the Ag Society gave $10,000 towards the building of the new fire hall.
Many local groups have been given donations by the Ag Society. They include the Vauxhall Parade and Rodeo (Saddle Club), Lion’s Park, Interpretive Centre, the Arena, Vauxhall Library, West End Park, Fire Hall, Vauxhall EMS, Public Skating, Minor Hockey, Spurs and Minor Baseball, Vauxhall Baseball Academy, Hays and Vauxhall Cemeteries, Enchant Park-Cyr House, Junior Curling, Vauxhall Figure Skating, and VHS Girls’ Volleyball Club. The Ag Society helped with the cost of the Vauxhall History Book and also gives bursaries each year to deserving graduates of VHS, who are studying agriculture at college or university.
In 2015, the Ag Society gave the Town $47,159 to install a new electronic sign on the Highway and in 2016 a donation of $55,000 was given to the Friends of the Pool for construction of the new pool in Vauxhall. Recently in 2019 the Vauxhall Ag Society has also given $20,000 to the Vauxhall Town Hall to install A/C.
The July 1 Celebration in Vauxhall has been sponsored by the Ag Society over the years. It began as a combine demolition, horse pull and lawn mower races and since 1996 it has been a car demolition. This annual event attracts hundreds of people and provides other groups from Vauxhall an opportunity to fundraise through a concession, beer garden and children’s activities.
In 2014, the Ag Society was approached by the M.D. of Taber to take over the operation of the riding arena, just east of Vauxhall. It had not been used or maintained for many years and countless volunteer hours have been spent cleaning up, building new toilets and rejuvenating the arena. The arena is being used for 4-H activities, team roping, barrel racing and other riding events. It is available for use by the general public. Due to having this facility available once again our community members now have had numerouse successes within many equestrian events, as they are able to practice and prepare at our local riding arena.