Unionville Fair – September 17th, 18th, and 19th, 1895




Unionville, September 17th, 18th, and 19th, 1895

Prince Leo Giving High Wire Performance

He will perform innumerable acts on a spider-looking wire sprung from two to the highest telegraph poles which can be secured. A few of his acts are: Running forward and backward with feet encased in market baskets; Crossing wire blindfolded with a bul lap bag; walking backward with feet in hoops; carrying a cook stove to the centre of wire, cooking and eating a meal consisting of eggs, chops $c. Performance of one hour’s duration.








Will be made at 4 p.m. the second day, Sept. 18th, by Miss. Fannie VanTassell of New York. The thousands who witnessed the successful ascension and leap last fall by Prince Leo were thrilled at the grandeur of the scene as the immense canvas rose into space with the daring aeronaut clinging to a single trapeze bar, but the culmination of excitement was reached as the little cord was severed and the parachute commenced to drop. For a moment it rushed downward through space, until it filled with air, when it slowly floated away over the fields and woods and finally settled to the ground with its undaunted living freight unharmed. There need be no fear that the ascension will not take place, for if the weather proves unfavorable on the day named the high wire performance will be given instead and the balloon ascension made the following day. And then, if the weather is such that it is
unsafe to make the attempt, the fair will be continued over to the 20th in order that the ascension may take place. Those that saw it last year will see something better this (year), and those within reach who fail to visit Unionville fair, will miss the opportunity of a life time.

This will be the most exciting scene during the fair. The process of inflating the balloon with hot air will be done in the presence of the assembled thousands. Prince Leo, the manager, is a thorough gentleman, courteous to all, and will be pleased to answer any questions relating to his feelings and experiences in the many hundreds of ascensions he has made in different parts of the world. Miss VanTassell will also personally superintend the process of inflation and see that everything is in proper order before the word to cast off is given. The opportunity to see this may never occur again, as the expense of getting this exhibition is enormous.



The Committee on Sports will offer nearly $300.00 in purses for speed on the best and fastest ½ mile track in this district. Purses divided as follows:

SECOND DAY, Sept. 18

Green Race – $30.00

Divided -$15, $10, $5.

Open to horses that never won public money.

2.40 Class – $30.00

Divided -$15, $10, $5.

THIRD DAY, Sept. 19

3 Min. Class – $45.00

Divided – $22, $15, $8

Free for all – $70.00

Divided – $35,  $23,  $12

Conditions–N.T.A. Rules to govern. Races in harness –  mile heats – best three in five. Four to enter, three to start. Entrance fees, 10 per cent. Open to trotters and pacers. Horses elegible Sept 1st

DJ.FORTH, Sec’y-Treas.


The Fair

In presenting this annual programme to the friends and patrons of this popular Fair, the Officers and Directors wish to return their sincere thank to exhibitors and visitors who have annually assisted to make the Fair a success. Year after year the Fair has grown in popular favour, until it is generally conceded, even by our rivals, that the Unionville Fair far outstrips all others in Eastern Ontario in the number and variety of its exhibits, the immense number that yearly congregate within its enclosures, and in the excellence of its arrangements for catering to the wants and whims of a fair going people. Our buildings are the largest and best arranged of any east of Kingston, while the Cattle, Sheep, Swine, and Poultry sheds and pens are large in number and admirably adapted to the requirements of those exhibiting. For this season we can only add that everything will be put in first class order and that no pains or expense will be spared to keep up the reputation of the Unionville Fair.



The inner circle for showing mares and colts, double and single driving horses, is well adapted to the purpose, being roomy with a smooth surface, and having a convenient Judges’ stand in the centre. Our fair was always noted for the largest and best exhibits of horses in the whole eastern portion of the province, and present indications are that there will be a good show in that class this fall.



We question if there is a better building or more convenient pens of more of them, than in the poultry department at the Unionville fair. A large number of our most prominent exhibitors are also poultry fanciers, and the exhibits in this class always draw a large amount of attention.


Grain and Roots

The grain and roots will very likely, owing to the very dry season, be much less in quantity and quality than former years; there-fore, if any friend of the society has a good sample of a cereal of any kind we would ask him by all means to bring it along to help keep the exhibits up to the quality usually shown. Our prizes are such as to pay any one well to make and extra effort to bring in a good sample.



The Dairy Industry

The Dairy industry is a very important one in these counties and the exhibits should be correspondingly large. The quality of Leeds County cheese and butter stands second to none in the world. We usually have large exhibits and we would urge our patrons and cheese and butter makers to help us keep up the reputation of the Unionville Fair of having the largest and best exhibit in this section. The display of honey, bread, cakes, apples, vegetables, and domestic articles is always good. Be sure to come out and see them.

Sheep and Swine

The sheep and swine buildings and pens are convenient roomy, and so placed as to show off the exhibits to the best advantage. Persons wishing to sell or buy stock should be on hand, as there is always quite a lot of animals in these classes that change hands during the fair, and there is no better place for a buyer to go than to a place where he can see competing animals side by side.


Have a roomy building, built purposely for the exhibit of carriages. If you are a manufacture, bring your wares to our fair and show in competition with others. If you are thinking of purchasing a carriage, what better place than where you can see the different makes arranged side by side ? The implements are shown on the grounds outside this building and many new and useful machines are shown. Many people for the first time see some new ideas in machinery at the fair. Come and see if there is not something new for you here this fall.



If you live along the line of the B & W Railway, purchase your ticket at your nearest station. Special excursions tickets with a coupon attached that will admit to the grounds can be procured at greatly reduced rates. A time table and rates from the different stations will be issued in a few days. Always tear off your gate coupon and have it ready before you reach the gate to prevent delay and confusion.

If you are a farmer, hitch up Dobbin and Doll to the spring wagon, and if you have not enough of your own family to fill every seat, give an invitation to your neighbour to jump in and come to the greatest show on earth.

If you are a young man that has “no mash” to bring to the fair, jump on to your silent steed and away to the fair. We will give you the use of the track at 1 p.m. the 2nd day for a fancy drill by the bicyclists present, and we may be able to offer a few liberal prizes for the best bicycle rider. Watch the Athens Reporter for any special announcements.

We ask everybody’s assistance in making the Unionville Fair a great big success. Remember, friends, we offer more prizes and more money for competitors than all the other fairs in these United Counties put together. Our track for trials of speed is in the best condition and our purses the largest. Our buildings, pens, stalls and accommodation for man and beast are the best. Our list of special attractions are away ahead of anything even attempted by any other fair in this whole district, and please remember as well that all these things take money to bring up to the perfection we have got them and we confidently appeal to the public to come up to our help, and by swelling our gate receipts this year enable us to meet all the heavy obligations we have incurred as well as stimulate us to renew exertions to give you something even better next season.


Every time Prince Leo signs a contract Hundreds of thousands in the United States have viewed with wonder, awe and admiration Miss VanTassel’s daring aerial sights.


Well- yes. Unionville Fair is annually attended by the finest looking girls in the country, which is equivalent to saying the best in the world.


The adults as well as the small boys should hoard up their coppers and spare change to provide themselves with taffy, peanuts and soft drinks. No intoxicating liquors of any kind are sold or allowed on or near the grounds





“Cheap John” or his chum, will be there to give value for the money invested. No fakirs or games of chance of any kind are allowed on the grounds or within 300 yards thereof.





A first class Brass Band will be on the grounds the last two days and discourse sweet music to the crowds.






Salvail & Thomas’ Big Show !

Mr. Salvail, who gave the best of satisfaction throughout this country last fall, has united with Mr. Thomas, another experienced showman, and together they will exhibit under a brand new canvas at Unionville Fair the best side-show travelling on the continent. Among the attractions will be:—-


Whose Tricks and Illusions are the Wonder of the Age


The only one ever captured alive—to be shown in a large tank of water.


The World’s greatest Second Sight Artist

Mis Alice Loe and her Den of Performing Snakes

The largest Snakes ever seen in Canada. Her performance is well worth double the price of admission.


An Artist of Continental Repute

A new version that never fails to please

Everything new, neat and nice—strictly moral and high class. No one should miss seeing this triumph of the showman’s profession.


This news article was taken from a full page advertisement in the Athen’s Reporter July 30th, 1895


Professor Leo Stevens in his balloon ,New York, 1911



An Account of Miss. Jennette (Fanny) Van Tassel

Miss Jenny Van Tassel

On July 4, 1888, Jenny Van Tassel was scheduled to attempt the first parachute jump by a woman, in Los Angeles. But after practice runs of the Van Tassel balloon went awry – including landing on the roof of a former mayor and demolishing a chimney – the police decided to prevent the ill-advised adventure. But Jenny managed to escape the detective assigned to keep her from the much-ballyhooed stunt and climbed into the gondola piloted by her husband. After rising 6,000 feet Jenny Van Tassel made her historic leap.

In a later interview with the Los Angeles Times, Jenny was described as “big  she weighed 165 pounds, young, handsome and blonde.” For her part, Jenny responded by describing her jump: “I ain’t exactly a bird nor an angel, but it’s just about what I imagine the sensation of flying is. It was beautiful!”

In 1892, Jeanette Van Tassel was invited to participate in a grand celebration by the Nawab of Dhaka, Khwaja Ahsanullah. The ruling Nawabs were well-known for their special events and the balloon ascent would be the first in East Bengal.

The plan was to have Jeanette Van Tassel launch from a south riverbank of the Buriganga River, float north of the river and land on the roof of the main building of the Nawab compound at Ahsan Manzi. A fire of wood and kerosene produced the hot air that filled the balloon, which began its flight without incident at 6:20 p.m. on March 16, 1892.

But the winds didn’t cooperate. Instead of landing on the palace roof, Van Tassel’s balloon came to rest in a tree at Ramna Garden, nearly three miles away. Police soon arrived and attempted a rescue by extending a bamboo pole to the gondola.

As Jeanette Van Tassel descended, the pole snapped and she crashed to the ground, severely injured. She died a few days later.

There is little evidence that Park Van Tassel continued his barnstorming career after the Dhaka incident. He died in Oakland, Calif., on October 24, 1930, at the age of 78. At the time of his death, he was operating the “Captain P. A. Van Tassel Toy Balloon Mfg. Co.,” a maker of miniature balloon ascension toys. Jeanette Van Tassel is buried in the Narinda Christian Cemetery at  Dhaka.

Jeanette Van Tassel, Born: ca.1864, Died: March 1892


Salt Lake Herald – May 26, 1889