The prime movers of the event were teacher Laurent A. Arsenault and farmer Élie E. Arsenault from Urbainville. The first secretary-treasurer was another teacher, Stanislas Aucoin, who served in this position from 1903 to 1911.
The first report of the Egmont Bay and Mont Carmel Exhibition, published by the Department of Agriculture, dates back to 1908. This report, submitted by Stanislaus Wedge (Stanislas Aucoin), offers a good insight into the state of the Exhibition five years after it was founded:
This Exhibition is held under the auspices of The Union Farmers’ Institute, and has been in operation for five years. That of 1908 surpassed all others previously held.
Governor McKinnon honored us with his presence and opened the Exhibition. Premier Haszard was also present, and expressed himself highly pleased with the exhibits before him.
In Grain, Roots and Vegetables, the Exhibition compared favorably with the larger Exhibitions.
The Sheep and Swine were also good. There were also a few fine horses and a few fine cattle. In Fruit and ladies’ work there was a good display. There were 310 entries in all. Thus: Grain, Roots and Vegetables, 167; Stock, 70; Fruit and Ladies’ Work: 73. The sum of $179.55 was paid in prizes.
The secretary-treasurer also submitted a financial report, since the Exhibition now received a government grant of one hundred dollars:
|Entries on Exhibits|
|Proceeds from Saloon|
|Proceeds from Table|
|Amount paid in Prizes|
|Printing and Advertising|
Year after year the Exhibition gained in popularity, with the general public as much as with members of the farmers’ institutes. In 1914, according to the Pioneer of Summerside, no less than 158 members were entered in the various competitions. From a total of 310 entries for all the classes in 1908, this number increased to 483 in 1912, 650 in 1924, and 1,269 in 1936. Government grants also increased – although not as much as the directors would have liked – from $100 to $250 and $400 respectively.
In 1912, this small Acadian exhibition was listed among the nine exhibitions receiving grants from the Department of Agriculture.
|Egmont Bay & Mont Carmel|
|Georgetown Seed Fair|
|Provincial Seed Fair|
|Central Seed Fair|
Reporters attending the Exhibition regularly remarked on its quality.
The Exhibition’s weak point lay mainly with the livestock exhibits which failed to meet Department of Agriculture standards. The region contained mostly small farmers with few resources to invest in pedigree livestock or to adequately nourish their herds. This situation made it harder to obtain more generous government grants. In 1928, the local member of the legislature, Harry Darby, attended the Association’s annual meeting. He explained to the members that he had with great difficulty succeeded in getting the sum of $300 voted for their exhibition. He told them that the people in the Department of Agriculture did not have purebred animals, but that they were satisfied with “the women’s work and the other agricultural exhibits.” In the final analysis, the Department awarded a grant of only $250 for the Exhibition that year, even though they had given $300 in 1925 and 1926, and $400 in 1927.
The question of livestock quality was often raised at the Exhibition’s annual meetings. The message kept recurring: that more effort must be put into improving the nutrition of the animals and doing a better job of preparing them for competition.