Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Aldergrove Fall Fair

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Contributed by Lezah

Now is the time of year when gardens and fruit trees are full with the ripeness of the season. I grew up on a farm, and although we raised horses, we still had many fruit trees and each year my Mom planted a vegetable garden. So this time of year has a special kind of meaning for me: it’s literally brimming with the fruits of the season, the rewards for one’s hard work in spring, the blessing of summer and nature and everything that is right with the world.

In that vein, now is also the time for fall fairs. Now, I’m the first to admit that I go through phases – fads – whatever you want to call them. Like my must-read-every-Booker-prize-winner phase; or my must-eat-at-every-Mom-and-Pop-diner-so-I-can-be-just-like-the-guy-in-Twin-Peaks phase (that one, between you and me, was a real waste of time and money); and now, for the last couple of years, I have been going through my country-fair stage. Spring, summer, fall – for a while there, I wasn’t too discerning. But lately, I have narrowed my interest down to fall fairs.

As far as I’m concerned, the fall fair season starts at the end of August and can run right through to November. For me, it’s kind of book-ended between Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition, which runs for two weeks at the end of August, finishing on Labour Day, and Toronto’s Royal Winter Fair, which usually takes place during the week in which November 11th falls. Now, The Royal (as Toronto’s fair is affectionately referred to) continues to do us proud: it was featured just a couple of years ago for a whole week on Martha Stewart Living, and has the best there is to offer. Vancouver’s PNE, unfortunately, is not doing its part in holding up the torch – they’ve deep-sixed the agricultural shows, killed the equestrian events, done away with many of the pavilions, including the BC Building (home of a giant relief map of BC and an annual crafts exhibit), and replaced that with the poor man’s answer to Disneyland; but no matter. We still have some reasonable alternatives at this end of the country.

Take, for example, the Aldergrove Agricultural Fair. Now nearly 100 years old, the fair changed venue about two years ago and, at the same time, walked away with the award for the ‘Best Agricultural Fair in BC’ Award. And deservedly so: full of jams and jellies, crafts and crowds (small ones, mind you), it also offers educational exhibits, funky crafts and jewellery for sale, home-grown and home-canned goods, a small midway, 4-H exhibits – the list goes on. With a down-home, country feel, this fair is all about community, and in these stressful times, that’s exactly what everyone needs a little more of…

The Aldergrove Fall Fair is taking place on September 10 & 11 this year at the Aldergrove Kinsman Community Centre on 29th Avenue (between the Lynden Highway and 272 Street).

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