One hundred years ago life was a lot different in Sooke, but one thing has been constant and that is people planting gardens, tending their flowers and harvesting their bounty. Back then it was called the Sooke Farmers Institute but the role was the same. They arranged for speakers on agricultural techniques, held demonstrations of skills and organized fall fairs. The Sooke Hall Association built a hall in 1915 close to the present Sooke Community Hall and it was the place to show off one’s flowers and produce. The fall fairs were a chance for people to get together and socialize at the end of the summer growing season.
Today, 100 years later, it is still that to locals. People bring in their biggest pumpkins and potatoes, their needlework, art and flowers.
This year the Sooke Fall Fair will be opened by B.C. Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon.
“We sent her an invitation back in November,” said fall fair president Ida McDonald. “We knew of her agricultural background.” The opening ceremony takes place on Saturday, September 7 at 2 p.m.
There’s a lot of new at the old fair.
A downstairs area in the community hall will be transformed into a heritage room with lots of vintage things and a collection of items that people can guess the origins and uses of. There is even a couple of newspapers from 100 years ago, trench art from the First World War and some other household items such as an old washing machine. Just to give you a glimpse into what a home would have looked like around the turn of the century.
“We even put some windows in there,” said McDonald.
Upstairs there will be some new sections, one which includes soap making, heirloom vegetables and the Quilt of Valour.
Crafts and games for kids, face painting, skateboarding demos, the Great Sookeini Race, concession, chicken plop bingo, pet parade and animals are all a part of this year’s fall fair. The literary arts, art and photography exhibits and entries will be upstairs at the Legion, just across the street from the hall.
This year small keeper trophies and medallions, made by Dave and Yvonne Court will be handed out in certain sections.
The Pet Parade, sponsored by Dr. Amanda Booth and staff of the Saseenos Vet Services, takes place at 1 p.m. on Sunday on Eustace Road. This is a favourite with the kids.
There’s a pancake breakfast on Sunday morning taken care of by the Lions and the Harbourside Lions.
It’s a packed weekend and a Sooke tradition enjoyed by those who like community events. It is also the unveiling of the Centennial Cookbook, a local cookbook with 160 pages containing 200 recipes, anecdotes and photographs.
It’s all there, it’s Sooke, it’s fun and it’s almost free. Admission is by donation.
Sooke Fall Fair, Saturday, September 7, 1 to 6 p.m.
Sunday, September 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.