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Do You Remember the Fenelon Falls Home Show?

April 20, 2022

1993 Home Show Volunteers: Doreen Field, Joan McCormick, John Lyon, Bill Spiers, Miriam Newton, Scotty McGhee, Donna Macey, Janice Lane and Petra Waalwyk

Back in the days of the old Fenelon Arena, the Fenelon Falls Home Show was the community’s spring get-together. It had a definite country feel to it. It seemed that practically everyone knew each other, and volunteers would be cooking hot dogs at the back door to keep everyone fed. It was important event for local businesses, where they made many sales and new acquaintances.

Bert’s Appliances put together a showcase of their wares, and offered their best sales of the year. Throughout the arena, visitors could hear the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ spinning as customers could get $10 to $100 off their purchase price. It was enticing, and was a great way to make people think about buying a new appliance. Bert’s would literally fill a freezer with ballots as they raffled off a microwave or freezer.

One of the highlights of the show was choosing the Jewel of the Kawarthas. The Jewel of the previous year would crown the new Jewel of the Kawarthas, as she would receive a crown, sash and hasti-notes from the Chamber of Commerce as well as gifts from Fenelon Builders, the Fenelon Falls Gazette, Bodi-Works, Hair Works, Sweaters, CIBC, Stokes on Trent, The Boutique and Paraphernalia. These ambassadors included Petra Waalwyk, Tracey Verleysen and Jennifer Lamb.

Local businesses put a lot of effort into making it a festive occasion, and came up with wonderful decorations. Over the years there were many memorable exhibitions, including fashion shows (often organized by the Livery Stable), and even a dog fashion shows, where pets were dressed up in adorable little coats. Local bands performed—Who could forget the Clogging Grandmothers, Old Tyme Fiddlers, Hughes and Wilson or school performances? There were many giveaways, as artists like Peter Pennington and Anne Wardley donated original works, and Kiddie Korner also featured prizes for local children.

Putting on a community event in the Old Arena could be quite the challenge. The building was not nearly as well heated or insulated as the new arena, and it was often held not long after the ice went out. The volunteers running the event did their best to warm up the arena with Salamander heaters, but it was typically still a little cool. Many people wore their coats and boots. One year, for whatever reason, the concrete floor just kept sweating and the volunteers had quite the time trying to keep it dry. They ended up using Cintas mats as giant towels to soak up the water. When one was saturated, they would take it away and roll out another mat. The Home Show had many devoted volunteers including Pat Thurston, Frank Kinsinger, Barry Young, Scotty McGhee, Donna Macey, John Lyon, Doreen Field, Joan McCormick, Bill Spiers, Miriam Newton, Janice Lee and Petra Waalwyk.

The Fenelon Falls Home Show was a great way to kick off the season. A lot of business owners spent so much of their lives at work in their stores, that it was a chance to connect with other businesses and to network with people they would never have the chance to meet. For many businesses and visitors alike, it was one of the most memorable social outings of the year.

As much as times have changed with the construction of the new arena, the Kawartha Lakes Country Living Show carries on many of the traditions of the old Fenelon Falls Home Show. It is this coming weekend, April 22-24. We hope to see you there.

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As you can see, we only have photos of the Home Show that we took from the Fenelon Falls Gazette. If you have pictures you would like to share, we would love to see them!

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