Merle (Steadwell) Barwis was 12-years-old when Sooke held its first Fall Fair 100 years ago. She lived in Saskatchewan on a horse ranch at the time and her dad trained and sold many horses to the Northwest Mounted Police and U.S. Marines. Merle’s love of horses remains to this day.
In 1923 she married Dewey Barwis, a CPR Station Agent and the couple raised three kids before heading west in 1953 to their home in Sooke. Actually it was in Saseenos, the Harbourview neighbourhood where she enjoyed working outside while gardening and mowing the grass which she did beyond her 90th birthday.
A cold beer always tasted pretty good afterwards.
The Sooke Fall Fair Barwis Family trophy for most points in beer- making is only one of the many trophies awarded at the Sooke Fall Fair taking place this Sept. 7 and 8. The Beer and Wine Section has also added an entry for best root beer as a special theme class to mark the centennial.
“People’s Choice” samplings will determine the winner.
Watch for Merle Barwis’ recipe in the Fair’s Centennial Cookbook available soon. Have you ever made “La La Paloop?” (Don’t bother trying to Google it, it’s not there.) Well, thanks to Dick and Betsy Barwis who passed along this recipe from Grandma Merle, it will be included in the book.
More details at the flea market August 31 at the Sooke Community Hall where early entry tags can be purchased for entries submitted by August 28.
Merle Barwis, presently residing in the Priory on Goldstream Ave., is keeping well with her sharp mind and great sense of humour.
When asked what she mostly looks forward to these days she replies, “Waking up in the morning.”
Oh, and by the way, Merle Barwis is the oldest person in Canada and still enjoys a cold beer.
Submitted by Ida McDonald, President, Sooke Fall Fair