Next week’s Fall Fair needs community support to get off the ground.
“People always seem to think that their items have to be perfect to be entered,” said Shirley King, president of the organizing committee. “That’s really not the case.”
Hay River’s Fall Fair is hardly reserved for only the most dedicated crafters and producers. According to organizers, the more entries there are, the better the fair will be as a whole. Last year – the first year back after a break – turnout for both entrants and spectators was lower than could be hoped for. This year organizers are looking forward to growing interest and more entries for this edition’s theme: a walk on the wild side.
“We’re talking about wild plants, crafts with wild things, and furs and things from wild animals,” said organizer Linda Carter, citing the growing trend toward local food production as well as far deeper traditions of reliance on uncultivated land as inspiration for this year’s theme.
“It makes it easier to get people out and submitting items when we have something they can focus on.”
The fair will feature hundreds of categories for crafts and produce and all entries will be on display Sept. 6 and 7 at the Don Stewart Recreation Centre curling rink.
King said the fair relies heavily on the trade fair – organized by the Hay River Chamber of Commerce – held the same weekend on the arena ice surface for foot traffic, but the two are completely different entities.
This year, the trade fair will take place Sept. 5 and 6, meaning there will only be one overlapping day.
“We’re a bit worried what it will mean for people coming out, and it may be pretty quiet on the Sunday,” said Carter. “But the one year we didn’t do it, we certainly heard about it from people wondering what had happened.”
Beyond the regular fair competitions, the event will also play host to several contests, including a life-size scarecrow competition, a cereal sculpting competition as well as chocolate chip cookie and cupcake-making contests.
There will also be a baby show in which parents can bring their children dressed as wild creatures of any kind, or borrow costumes from the fair’s tickle trunk. Groups like the Hay River Beautification Committee and the Treehouse Drop-In Centre will be donating prizes.
“We really want it to be an event for the whole family,” said organizer Sheila Cook. “There will be a fun fair for kids as well, with games and a bouncy castle.”
The latter will be run by the Princess Alexandra Parent Action Committee, something Cook said was an ideal fit for everyone involved.
“We’re not out to make money here,” she explained. “A lot of the things that happen are good fundraising opportunities and we welcome community groups to come in and help run things. We complement each other well.”
But the heart of any fair is always the items out of exhibition. King said the best thing that could happen is for every person in Hay River to bring out one thing. Although the fair takes place the Saturday and Sunday, entries must be brought to the curling rink between noon and 2 p.m. or between 4 and 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 5.
“There are so many creative people here in Hay River, and we’re inviting them all to come out and help make a great Fall Fair,” she said. “Really, the
more the merrier.”