Lloydminster began as a colony of British settlers who arrived in the area in the spring of 1903. Most of them were from the industrial cities of England. They soon realized that they needed information about proper methods of farming this new land and an Agricultural Society was formed. A one day “fair” was held in October 1904. Residents celebrated their successes and compared notes for improving their garden produce, grains, and livestock.
Following the creation of the provinces in 1905 – there were two villages named Lloydminster; one in Alberta and one in Saskatchewan. Each had its own village council, each had its own school board and each formed their own Agricultural Society. The Saskatchewan Society was chartered in 1906 and the Alberta Society was chartered in 1908. Two fairs were held each year. Both Societies used the same grounds and facilities but held their fairs on separate dates.
During World War I, the two Societies were amalgamated into one Lloydminster Agricultural society by a special Order in Council passed by both governments. That same order determined that the Lloydminster Agricultural Society would receive from each Province one half of the grant monies that each province paid to other societies of the same status in each province. That grant arrangement existed until 1978 when Lloydminster received its “A” status.
During the early 1919 - 1923 depression, the Society suffered financial losses and three of its Directors had to guarantee loans at the bank. In order to reduce this liability on the Directors, the Lloydminster Agricultural Society was dissolved, and, in 1921, the Lloydminster Agricultural Exhibition Association Ltd. was formed under the Company’s Act of Saskatchewan. Most of the Agricultural Societies that were operating in that period, in both Alberta and Saskatchewan, took the same action and formed limited companies. As a company, membership in the Association was by means of a share purchase. This arrangement existed until 1980, when Saskatchewan discontinued its company’s act and the Exhibition Association came under the new Non Profit Corporations Act.
Operating on the border and serving people in both provinces, the Association pays membership in the Saskatchewan Agricultural Society Association and to the Alberta Association of Agriculture Societies. They must file reports in both provinces and attempt to be active in both provincial associations.
In the early 1970’s the bylaws were changed to the present system of 24 Directors on the Board with no geographic stipulation. Directors are elected for a three year term, with the Board being divided into three groups of eight – therefore at any election only 1/3 of the Directors retire and can be replaced at one time. This has given continuity and a strong measure of stability in the programs and direction of activities. A member may serve as many 3 year terms if they wish, provided they are re-elected after each term.
The Directors are elected by the membership at large. The President and Vice President are then elected by the Directors from within their members. The President serves for one year, but may be re-elected. The usual term has been two years. The affairs of the Association are directed by the Board and it appoints the committee members from the public at large. Committee members need not be a member of the Society. Normally there are about 30 standing committees and there are 120 – 130 people involved in these committees.
Each and every activity sponsored by an agricultural society brings people and money into the community and exports only its services as supplies and labour are from within the community. The Lloydminster Exhibition Association is a major importer of new money into the economy of the City and a provider of many services that would otherwise not be available in the community. In recent years, the Stockade Convention Centre has become a popular venue for larger events, with the catering service earning many plaudits.
October 1904 Lloydminster & District residents hold their first “fair”. They displayed tables of garden produce, and sheaves of grain, but the highlight was the horse race which attracted entrants form throughout the area.