When you’ve been around Sooke for as long as Ellen Lewers, some things become a natural part of life.
One of those things is the annual Sooke Fall Fair, a festive event that dates back more than 100 years, and one that Lewers has been a part of since 1989.
“It became a great way to get involved in the community and checking out what’s going on,” Lewers said.
Lewers went to the Luxton Fall Fair before discovering the Sooke version.
When she did, she was hooked.
Working as part of a small army of around 60 to 70 volunteers, Lewers got on the executive in 2014 as the Sooke Fall Fair vice-president, with the intent to make the fair even more interactive.
“We looked at the site planning, and managed to get large animals [at the Sooke Community Hall) for the first time, so now we’ve got cows, goats and sheep,” she said.
Lewers pointed out one of the captivating aspects of the fair is having fun and letting go of one’s worried, serious nature.
Such an example is the traditional pie-eating contest where you have your hands tied behind your back and you eat smarties and out of the pie pan.
“It’s a real hoot for everybody,” Lewers laughed.
For fellow Sooke Fall Fair member and volunteer Candace Linde, having fun and being part of a positive, constructive event in Sooke were solid enough reasons to join 15 years ago.
She also wanted her kids to experience that world of volunteering.
“Kids are crafty, so I started by getting my kids involved in the fair, and it was a lot of fun,” she said.
Having been an education assistant for the Sooke School District for 25 years, Linde naturally became involved in the education section of the fair, preparing displays and learning materials about various part of agriculture such as produce and livestock.
“The idea was to focus on the healthy part and educating the community about produce, fruit, vegetables and how agriculture is a part of our lives,” she said, adding that all fair members brings some unique bit of knowledge to the table.
“Every volunteer uses their skills; what they’re best at and what they enjoy.”
For Linde’s kids, the Sooke Fall Fair was a launch into a bigger, wider world.
“It’s been a good experience and provided good skills for both my son and daughter to have in their education and work field,” she said.
Besides a new theme on beans this year there’s a handful of activities that join the fold. Among them? Sooke Country Market and Sooke Food Chi.
Across the road from the community hall, the Sooke Legion will feature an art and photography gallery upstairs, along with “slam poetry” and art workshops. You can even create poetry in the “magnetic poetry” section, where you organize words around to make a poem of your own.
It’s not all beans though. Activities also include a pet parade on Sunday, along with pony cart rides and tractor hay rides.
“There’s a little bit of everything for everybody,” Lewers said.