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Doll Clothes

Curated Submission
Aylsham, Saskatchewan
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
25 x 19
Materials & techniques
Cotton; Hand-sewn
Made by Merle Bocking
Saskatchewan Western Development Museum WDM-2010-S-62
Agricultural fairs were a tradition brought by settlers to the prairie region, especially those from eastern Canada, England, and America. When Merle Armstrong Bocking was growing up near Aylsham, Saskatchewan, her family attended the local agricultural fair held nearby each summer. Each year, before the fair, Bocking’s mother secured a copy of the prize list, which included children’s handwork categories. Bocking and her siblings spent their spare time between the end of school and the fair creating entries for competition. Categories for children included handwork, art, and woodwork. This doll’s dress won Bocking first prize at the Connaught Agricultural Fair in the handwork category for Doll Clothes - Girls under 12.
Traditionally held in late summer before harvest, fairs played an important role in supporting and encouraging agricultural production. Fairgoers admired the displays and watched demonstrations of the latest farm equipment, home innovations, and other products. Fairs were a fun time to visit with friends and neighbours and to share in friendly rivalry. Entertainment at a 1930s fair in Saskatchewan might include baseball games, horse races, foot races, and midway rides. Perhaps most popular were the cash prize competitions for the best livestock, produce, and handwork.
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