Eighty Sea to Sky vendors. Live music. Farm animals. Hayrides. Face-painting. Minigolf. The Squamish-famous zucchini races. Community groups showcasing their organizations.
These are just some of the many activities of the Brackendale Farmers’ Institute Brackendale Fall Fair that won’t be happening this September.
The annual event, held at the Brackendale Farmers’ Institute Park, is cancelled for this year due to a lack of volunteers.
The next fair, the 25th, is set for the fall of 2023.
Organizers of the non-profit Institute need about 100 volunteers to run the popular, family-friendly fair.
They fell short of that this year so had to pull the plug on the event earlier this month.
The hope is that by getting the word out now, locals will step up, and there will be plenty of Institute members and folks signed up to make the fair happen in a year.
The one-day event is all about “celebrating our roots, local farmers and artisans,” said Shaelene Raffaele, a director with the Institute.
The 2022 cancellation comes after two years of postponing the fair due to the pandemic.
“We’re so happy to be back [for 2023] and sadly we had a hard decision to make. We just didn’t have the volunteer numbers to feasibly make it happen, and so we had to decide that we would put our efforts into 2023,” she said.
The Squamish Farmers Institute, as it was called then, started in 1915. The first documented annual fall fair was held on Sept. 4, 1922.
In 1991, the institute was renamed Brackendale Farmers Institute.
It is a long-standing tradition, in other words, and the fair has brought joy to tens of thousands of adults and children alike over the years.
"We also need those same people who say they love the fair to then come out and lend a hand," Raffaele said, noting early feedback has been that people are disappointed the fair is off for this fall.
There are a number of jobs for fair volunteers that require varying degrees of commitment, from a few hours to much more, depending on what folks can do.
Some roles include setting up exhibit tents, getting the grounds ready, traffic directing, waste management, being in charge of the animals and driving the tractor.
Raffaele said she knows and appreciates that people are busy these days and there are a lot of pressures on their time. To run these community events, however, volunteers are needed.
She quoted renowned U.S. anthropologist and Habitat for Humanity volunteer, Elizabeth Andrew.
“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”
To become a member of the institute and to volunteer, head to the Brackendale Farmers Institute website.