Fall fairs have a way of bringing communities together. They used to be held at a time when farmers could finally relax after the crops came in. They would boast about the biggest pumpkins and the fattest chickens and they would visit with each other and relax a little.
Family farms are the binder twine that holds all things together. This year the Sooke Fall Fair is celebrating the family farm in honor of the United Nations International Year of Family Farming. The Sooke Fall Fair takes place on September 6 and 7 at the Sooke Community Hall and across Eustace Road at the Legion.
In her President’s Message, Ellen Lewers said, “our aim is to encourage the community to embrace their family farms (from backyard gardens to commercial producers) and gain better knowledge about local suppliers of healthy food and what they grow.”
Along with the displays and exhibits of potatoes and flowers, knitting and quilting, and everything to do with growing, home arts and animals, there are some fun things to take part in.
New this year is a family farm dance at Ed Macgregor Park on Saturday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Lewers encourages people to get into the spirit and get out and dance.
“Dress as a farmer if you like and get ready to do the chicken dance,” said Lewers.
Thinking back to what made fall fairs such an awaited event were things like pie eating contests and they will be having one at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the community hall. The event is open to everybody and there is no entry fee. Probably a change of clothes would be welcome after though.
Kids make up a lot of the enthusiasm and there are a number of fun things for them to do. There will be a dunk the Barbie tank, Lucky Ducky, Tic Tac Toe and a whole bunch of other fun “unplugged” events. These will be run by youth groups in Sooke and the ticket money (50 cents) will go to those groups for their programs. This could be a really great way to introduce kids to life before computers, cell phones and electronic games. Let them look at the chickens and rabbits and other animals behind the community hall. The Pet Parade is a fun event where many pets are dressed up and decorated. It’s fun to watch and fun for the kids to be involved in.
Take the kids or grandkids on an old-fashioned hay ride and pony ride or race a zucchini in the Great Sookeini Race scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday.
“We are really trying to get the kids engaged,” said Lewers.
If that isn’t enough to get the excitement happening, buy a ticket on the chicken plop bingo, come listen to the music, bring your entry in to be judged and then auctioned off. A happy face sticker will show which entries are up for auction.
“When people do their entries they have the opportunity to put their goods into the auction. Members of the Sooke Fall Fair Society will also be making pies for auction,” Lewers said.
What’s a fall fair without a fiddle or two? There will be a farmers’ music jam at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Musicians are encouraged to bring along their instruments and pick and strum with others on stage in the community hall. Music will be playing throughout the two days on the stage as well. Come on down, have a seat and listen to some of Sooke’s musicians and singers giving their all.
The beautiful Fall Fair Quilt will be raffled off as first prize and there are two other prizes this year. The quilt, of course, is first prize, with a basket of local meat valued at $250 as second prize and a produce and a value-added basket worth $150 as third prize. All the more reason to purchase a raffle ticket. All the proceeds go towards future fall fairs.
Literary and photographic entries can be viewed upstairs at the Legion, across from the Sooke Community Hall on Eustace Road.
It’s all there, everything that makes Sooke what it is. Old-fashioned? Absolutely! Fun? You bet! Community? Most certainly.
For all the categories and list of events pick up a fall fair catalogue at retail outlets in Sooke.