For its centennial celebration, the Sooke Fall Fair was recognized with the Century Farm Award. This award honours agricultural organizations that have been active for 100 years.
“I want to congratulate the Sooke Fall Fair on their Century Farm Award and wish them all the best as they celebrate their centennial,” said B.C.’s Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm.
The story began 100 years ago, in September 1913, when a group of local farmers got together and helped organize a number of horticultural and livestock classes for competition.
President Ida McDonald included the following write-up in the Fall Fair Catalogue.
“It was back in 1913 that Mr. and Mrs. Rayment and Mr. and Mrs. Higgs raised over $100 for the Sooke and Otter Point Agricultural Association and Sooke Poultry Association. The rifle range, the hat trimming competition and a boat race were all part of the event which took place near the banks of the Sooke River. Then on September 19th, 1913 Mr. Miller Higgs and his energetic committee celebrated the opening of what they hoped would be the first of many annual agricultural shows in Sooke. That year Dr. Richard Felton earned the trophy for most points in the vegetable classes.”
Throughout the years, the Sooke Fall Fair has remained a community fair that gives people an opportunity to join together in the spirit of the rural fair philosophy that is a reflection of Sooke’s strong community spirit. As part of the centennial this year, the fair will be selling a cookbook that includes historical photographs from past fairs, along with a collection of favourite recipes.
In recognition of the grand occasion, the opening procession included B.C. Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, Sooke’s historian Elida Peers, BC Association of Agricultural Fairs and Exhibitions government relations co-chair Leah North Hryko, CRD Regional Director Mike Hicks, T’sou-ke nation’s Elder Shirley Alphonse and Chief Gordon Planes, Mayor Wendall Milne, MLA John Horgan, MP Randall Garrison, Sooke Fall Fair president Ida McDonald, piper Angus Stanfield and vocalist Janet McTavish.
The non-dignitaries included all the committee members who have given countless hours to the fair. In their numbers are president Ida McDonald, vice-president Ellen Lewers, secretary June Wesley, treasurer Marie Mills, directors Val Durr, Sheila Hubbard, Martha Moore, Henry Strong, and Wendy Visser, and past president Candace Linde.
And at its heart are the scores of volunteers who worked hard judging the entries, coordinated the trophies and awards, looked after admissions, facilitated the layout and and advertising of the catalogue, promoted the event, and completing any other centennial project that required attention.
President McDonald Ida McDonald acknowledges the vast contributions, reflecting the level of community involvement it requires to co-ordinate such an event.
“It’s all about community involvement, whether it be sponsorships from local businesses, entrants from Jordan River, or the dedicated group of volunteers, the entire Sooke region must take credit for the success of Sooke Fall Fair’s first 100 Years.”