None of us were there, but it must have been exciting. It was the ninth of October, and Peachland’s reeve was about to honour a
special guest. It was also the first time the town hosted a fall fair, and Canada’s Governer General was there. I wonder if anyone there was thinking 100 years ahead – and if they did, they would definitely want to meet these ladies:
Martha Jenkins, Margaret Martin and Tami Theriault are sitting in my office, and today, we’re talking fall fairs. This is a big year
for the Peachland version, and even though September seems far away, work has already begun.
“Normally, we start in March,” says Jenkins, who has been at the organizatinoal helm for seven years now.
“This year is going to be big.”
If you’re thinking fall fairs are all about baked goods, Grandma’s preserves, and maybe some needlework – you’re right, but there’s so much more. There’s photography, flowers, garden goodies, rugs, quilts, nuts, eggs, fruits and vegetables of all kinds, paintings, wind chimes, dolls, adult colouring, and even miniatures. The best part? Every single thing is made, grown, and loved on by a local.
It’s pretty impressive, says Martin, who like Jenkins, says she’s a “newbie”, having volunteered for the same amount of time.
“It’s wonderful to see how our community and local area present their best – from our wonderful produce, the amazing neeedlework and crocheting, it’s unbelievable,” she says.
And every year, the quality of the entries is something to see.
“The quality has definitely been maintained over the years, and in some cases, I think it’s gotten better. The quality of our needlework section, in particular, has improved. Maybe not the quantity, but the quality for sure.”
Baking, preserving and crafting are considered the lost arts, but for many, spending the time creating something special is a timeless passion.
And if you’re reading this and thinking “I could never do something like that,” stop right there.
Last year was the first time Tami Theriault got roped into the fair – and she went all in, entering into an art category.
“I thought ‘oh no, I’m not a fall fair person,’ even though for so many years I thought of entering. And then you put your thing in and you might get an honourable mention, you might get nothing, you might get first prize. And then you get your ribbon and your money, and you’re just like ‘oh my gosh, that was so fun. And you’re hooked.”
This year, the committee really wants to get everyone – and yes, that’s everyone in Peachland – involved in this 100th fall fair.
“One of the ideas is to have information sessions at the community centre,” says Theriault.
“Let’s say Wayne does painting and art, you could have an info session on that.”
The group also plans to put out reminders on when to start your seeds and other projects. Watch the View in the coming months for information on that.
All this talk of garden bounties and doting over a hobby has inspired me – like Tami, I’m a newbie to the fall fair scene, but I’d like to think I was a successful gardener and harvester last season. Maybe I’ll try?
Yes, you should, Theriault says.
“It’s a sense of pride, really. It’s about continuing on with traditions and building community because we all come together, and it’s such a beautiful competition – being part of that, it’s beyond what I can even say because it’s just that feeling – everyone comes in with all their goodies and they’re so nervous and proud and then they rush back to see who wins. Plus, there’s the bragging rights,” she laughs.
OK, I’m going to consider this. I can probably convince my kids too – because who doesn’t like a bit of competition amongst family?
Stay tuned. And start planning. the Peachland Fall Fair runs Saturday, Sept. 7 and Sunday, Sept. 8 at the Peachland Community Centre.