The theme of this year’s Sooke Fall Fair is “rooted in tradition” and, for Ellen Lewers, the president of the organizing committee, there couldn’t be a more appropriate focus for the 106-year-old celebration.
“This community has deep roots that keeps it strong,” said Lewers.
“Every one of us has a talent of some kind and the fair is a chance to express that talent. It doesn’t matter whether it’s growing roses and marigolds, raising sheep and cattle, baking, sewing, writing, keeping bees or photography. We want to welcome everyone to the competitions.”
The catagories are indeed many and varied, represented in 31 sections that are outlined in the Fall FAir pamphlet now available throughout the community.
“These are skills and talents that were developed from old traditions that date back to the founding of our community. We see the fair as a way of keeping those traditions alive,” said Lewers.
What fair-goers will not see at the Sooke Fall Fair are the sort of activities that have become common at many of the fairs in other communities.
There are no noisy midway rides dominating, and sometimes overshadowing, the true purpose of the fair. There will be no concerts featuring aging rock bands and no carnival barkers luring people into tossing basketballs or throwing darts in an effort to win tiny stuffed animals.
“We don’t have a midway with rides, and our games are rooted in tradition,” explained Lewers.
“They are the sort of games that you would have seen at the fair back when it started, and they’re just as much fun today as they were back then.”
In addition to the classic three-legged races and gunny sack races, other games can only be found at the fair.
Lewers laughed as she described the ‘chicken plop bingo’.
“We have a board that’s divided up and people take 50/50 bets on where the chicken will plop (poop). It sounds funny, but I can tell you that the kids just love it,” said Lewers.
“Trust me, it’s a riot.”
In addition the fair offers some traditional contests like the pie eating contest, although the pies have been replaced by a handful of Smarties under a mass of whipped cream.
“The kids and adults, too, get right in there and the laughter is just ringing out as the event happens. There’s things like that happening all the time. We don’t need a midway.”
Of course, no fair would be complete without an old fashioned country market, and the Fall Fair prides itself in offering people a wide array of produce at the Eutace Rd. market.
“We do have some live, local entertainment there between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. , and folks can take a look at the animals while they’re out there.”
Lewers paused as she described all the things to see and do at the fair.
“There’s just so much. We have pony rides and, oh yes, the pet parade. You shouldn’t miss that,” said Lewers with a smile.
“We get everything from dogs and cats to lizards and calves. Everyone is dressed up and it’s just a lot of fun.”
When all is said and done, the philosophy of the Sooke Fall Fair is rooted in tradition-in the spirit of volunteerism and the pride that residents of all ages have in their skills and accomplishments.
“It’s a great event, and I’m happy to be a part of it,” said Lewers.
The Sooke Fall Fair runs on Sat. Sept.7 and Sun., Sept. 8 at the Sooke Community Hall. Programs for the 2019 Fair are available in various locations in Sooke, including the Sooke News Mirror office.