Amy Chwojka can’t wait for the Sooke Fall Fair.
Chwojka hasn’t missed a fall fair in more than 50 years, and over the last 12 months she’s been meticulous collecting, growing and baking items for this year’s fair, which is this weekend at Sooke Community Hall.
“My key to success in the fair is to start early, not a week before the event,” she says with a chuckle.
The last three years Chwojka has won a rosetta at the fall fair for amassing the most points in diabetic baking. Over the years, she won numerous prizes for everything from baking to vegetables and fruit and rug making.
But the winning wasn’t always easy, especially in the first few years.
Chwojka moved to Sooke in 1964 and a year later was entering veggies and other goods in the fair. It wasn’t until an elderly neighbour took her under his wing and taught her how to grow vegetables that she started seeing the fruits of her labour.
The neighbour even talked her into putting a hooked rug into the fair, and Chwojka won the event.
“You need to learn what the judges want and understand what you are placing in front of them,” she says.
“If you do that you certainly provide yourself with a tremendous amount of education and understanding.”
Over the years, Chwojka has held many positions with the fall fair. This year she is an assistant in the photography section. She was also involved with the commitee that helped put together the fall fair cookbook a few years ago.
Now she gets the most enjoyment teaching those entering items in the fair how best to do it and be successful.
“I feel the reward is in just working with people. I appreciate it when people say I didn’t know that,” Chwojka says.
“I feel kids have so many talents that they can produce all these lovely things. What the children put out at the fair is magnificent.”
Along with Amy, the Chwojka family has been involved with the fair. Her husband and children have entered many items over the year.
Chwojka hasn’t only let her talents go to the fall fair. She’s volunteered with other groups in Sooke including Knox Presbyterian Church, salmon enhancement, blood donor clinics and girl guides.
Earlier this year she received a award for her long service helping with the church’s annual strawberry tea. Two years ago she got a similar honour from the Sooke Fall Fair.
“I’ve dug my roots into Sooke very permanently,” Chwojka says.
Sooke Fall Fair president Ellen Lewers calls Chwojka “a real gem.”
“Amy is a true supporter with the fair. She’s always there when you need her.”
The Sooke Fall Fair is Saturday (Sept. 12) from 1 to 6 p.m. and Sunday (Sept. 13) from 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Sooke Community Hall and the Royal Canadian Legion.