Brackendale Fall Fair back for 24th year stronger than ever

Land tenure for 10 years, securing the fair for the future: president

It shows what can happen when Squamish folks come together for a cause.

The Brackendale Farmers Institute Fall Fair, which was cancelled in 2018 due to a lack of volunteers, is back and more supported than ever, says its president.

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The event is on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A whole new board of directors is in place and volunteers have come out in droves, according to Glenne Campbell.

"We have a huge complement of volunteers and they are all ages. Some have lived here a long time and some are fairly new to the community," Campbell said.

"Everyone has said, 'We were so disappointed the fair didn't happen last year and we realize we only have ourselves to blame.'"

Campbell said of the 200 available volunteer positions, 90 per cent have been filled.

A few volunteers are still needed to be exhibit judges and zero-waste ambassadors.

(Go to the fair's website to volunteer.)

The District of Squamish, too, stepped up to support the yearly event, she said, providing access to drinking water, for example, so that attendees can now bring water bottles from home and forgo plastic.

"I want to thank everyone who has gotten us to this point. It is a real game-changer," Campbell said.

As always, the fair includes food, live, local music, a petting zoo, hayrides, vendors with crafts and other specialty items, and fun and games including face painting, mini-golf, and the locals' favourite — zucchini races.

"We want people to bring their zucchinis," Campbell said, adding that volunteers grew 100 zucchinis, and made more wooden wheels for the races.

"Hopefully that will speed the track up too," she added, with a laugh.

While there were previously five activities at the fair, this year will feature 17.

"The big one is what we are calling the Farm to Table Challenge activity. It is to give children an opportunity to see what goes into a potato on your plate and how much energy has to be put into growing that potato, collecting that potato and getting it to market, getting it to your table to eat."

The theme of this year's event is “The farmer feeds them all,” which is a line from the poem The Farmer, by Amelia E. Barr.

"In November of 2018, the provincial government held a one-day workshop for all the various farmers' institutes from around B.C.," Campbell recalled. "It was super inspiring. [We] got to meet lots of really cool people and it was one of the other farmers' institutes that came with that poem and I thought that is it. That is what we have to do, ‘the farmer feeds them all.’

The Brackendale Farmers' Institute was established in 1915.  It is dedicated to the "promotion and preservation of the social and cultural life of the historic village of Brackendale," according to the non-profit's website.

Organizers are also relieved that the Brackendale Farmers Institute Park, the 50 acres south of Brackendale Elementary School where the fair is held, has tenure for the next 10 years, ensuring the fair will have a home for the foreseeable future.

The institute applied to the provincial government for the use of the land.

"What is different from last year is [use of] the lands in question... was up in the air, dependant upon a land sale in the Cheekye Fan lands, [Cheekeye Neighbourhood Developments] so that has all gone through. The park was excluded from the land sale, with a condition or agreement that if and when things go forward with the development, the park will be turned over from the province to the District," she said.

 Go to brackendalefarmersinstitute.org for more information.

 

The Farmer

By Amelia E. Barr (1831-1919)

The king may rule o'er land and sea,

The lord may live right royally,

The soldier ride in pomp and pride,

The sailor roam o'er ocean wide;

But this or that, whate'er befall,

The farmer he must feed them all.

The writer thinks, the poet sings,

The craftsmen fashion wondrous things,

The doctor heals, the lawyer pleads,

The miner follows the precious leads;

But this or that, whate'er befall,

The farmer he must feed them all.

The merchant he may buy and sell,

The teacher do his duty well;

But men may toil through busy days,

Or men may stroll through pleasant ways;

From king to beggar, whate'er befall,

The farmer he must feed them all.

The farmer's trade is one of worth;

He's partner with the sky and earth,

He's partner with the sun and rain,

And no man loses for his gain;

And men may rise, or men may fall,

But the farmer he must feed them all.

God bless the man who sows the wheat,

Who finds us milk and fruit and meat;

May his purse be heavy, his heart be light,

His cattle and corn and all go right;

God bless the seeds his hands let fall,

For the farmer he must feed us all.

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