PHOTOS: Saanich Fair draws thousands on opening day

The Vancouver Island Coastal Cowgirls perform Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)The Vancouver Island Coastal Cowgirls perform Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A member of the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society loads a 1928 Red River Special grain separator during a demonstration Saturday at the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A member of the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society loads a 1928 Red River Special grain separator during a demonstration Saturday at the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
An alpaca gets its picture taken Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)An alpaca gets its picture taken Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A blacksmith demonstrates their trade Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A blacksmith demonstrates their trade Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
The Vancouver Island Coastal Cowgirls perform Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)The Vancouver Island Coastal Cowgirls perform Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A large selection of rides and games were on offer Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A large selection of rides and games were on offer Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A large selection of rides and games were on offer Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A large selection of rides and games were on offer Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Some stunningly large produce were on display Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Some stunningly large produce were on display Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A prize-winning chicken inspects its ribbon Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A prize-winning chicken inspects its ribbon Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Kids fly through the air on a ride Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Kids fly through the air on a ride Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A show cow receives some attention as it is groomed Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A show cow receives some attention as it is groomed Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Visitors explore a rabbit display Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Visitors explore a rabbit display Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A show cow revels in the attention of a visitor Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A show cow revels in the attention of a visitor Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Kids race pedal tractors Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Kids race pedal tractors Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A horse gets some attention from a visitor Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A horse gets some attention from a visitor Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Kids fly down a giant slide Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Kids fly down a giant slide Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A trio of alpacas eye the crowd Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A trio of alpacas eye the crowd Saturday during day one of the Saanich Fair. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)

After two years of modified events the Saanich Fair is finally back in all its glory this long-weekend, and if opening day was anything to go by, people are excited to have it back.

Saturday (Sept. 3) saw the three-day fair officially open, with thousands of excited families pouring into the fairgrounds to take in everything on offer. And as with most previous years, there was no shortage of things to do or see.

At one end of the grounds is a large midway area with nearly every ride and game imaginable. On the other, classic farm fair staples like animal competitions, shows, and antique farm equipment demonstrations. In the middle, plenty of tasty food options, vendors, and a farmers market.

“All the people walking by have big smiles on their faces, the kids are super excited, so I’d say it’s pretty successful,” said Catriona McHattie, president of the North and South Saanich Agricultural Society and lead organizer for the fair. “We are actually having difficulty getting people onto the fair grounds because there are so many people here today.”

McHattie said the traffic flow issues are expected to be resolved for Sunday and Monday as the army of volunteers get back into the swing of things two years since they last had to contend with such high numbers. Over the three day event, she said she expects to see more people than previous editions due to the pent up demand for such events, with as many as 70,000 people visiting compared to a more average year of 40,000 to 50,000 people.

“We’ll take everybody and hope they all enjoy themselves,” she said. “It’s not all about how much money it costs to come to the fair. If you come in the main gate and turn to the left, everything there down to the west ring is all free. Free entertainment, free picnic areas for you to bring a lunch. We try and make it so it is affordable for everybody to come to the fair and so there is something for everybody.”

The fair continues Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. More information on what visitors can expect is available at saanichfair.ca.

READ MORE: Saanich Fair organizers hope to revive sense of community, promote agriculture


@JSamanski
justin.samanski-langille@goldstreamgazette.com

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