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characteristics, proved itself and has been guarded with extreme care ever since. Each year after the fair, manure and straw is spread over the soil to protect it. The manure is broken down and worked into the soil to add to the springiness. The straw acts as protection from the elemen ts. It is taken off each time the track is in use. Laying of the straw every two years helps restore the turf to the track.

An ever present plentiful supply of water is pumped from sand­ points sunk 12 feet into the sandy soil on nearby grounds. The water is the purest because of the filtering action of the sand. Harness racing men bringing their horses and lodging them in the barns have no fear of a lack of water. Also, their horses can graze off the luscious supply of grass and will not be disturbed by passing traffic.

The race track at Island Park has long been a hot-spot of harness racing. The track is springy and fast and holds a Canadian half-mile record of 2.0214 set in 1940 by Dan Gratton, owned by Sime Hawley, Storm Lake Iowa and driven by Clayton Annia of Regina.

Truly, the pioneer directors built better than they knew. But best of all, their spirit and enterprise is still alive and strong, as manifested in their sons and grandsons who today act as Directors of the Portage Fair.


From an old paper of 1884 comes this story:

"A gentleman residing here has in his employ an aged negro whose early life was spent south of Mason and Dixon's line, and as a chattel or property. The gentleman is a keen observer of human nature and, enjoying a good thing, has drawn the old negro out on many important questions of theology, law and logic."

In conversation some time ago he said to him, "Sam, I have heard that all colored people will steal. Is it so?"

"No, 'taint so, 'tis a lie."

"Well," said the gentleman, "when you were a slave, didn't you sometimes take a chicken or a turkey from your master, and eat it?"

"Yes," said Sam, "sometimes I took a chicken, or a duck, or a turkey, but, Lord bless you that wasn't stealin'.'

"Why not?" he was asked.