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Fall Fair strengthens Brackendale 'heartbeat'

Future of Farmers Institute Park looking brighter: Froslev

Although it might be too early to toast the survival of the Farmers Institute Park, the 15th annual Brackendale Fall Fair will celebrate a strong beat to what is known as the "Heart of Brackendale" on Sept. 12.

Fair organizer Thor Froslev said he's feeling confident municipal and provincial government officials are finally realizing the "people's park" should not be overthrown by developers, partly because the district has the land designated as open green space in the current Official Community Plan.

The Brackendale Farmers Institute has been lobbying all levels of government for permanent park status since 1992.

"It's a big step in the right direction for us," said Froslev. "I feel really good about it."

The fair is taking place on the park's land for the 11th consecutive year and all the main preparations are set: the tractor is painted, the hay is built high and the zucchinis are ready to be transformed into four-wheeled racers.

There are more than 62 vendors registered to provide fresh local vegetables along with art, crafts and activities. Demand for local goods is high and last year, more than 2,700 people attended the one-day event, said Froslev.

"All the vendors want to come to the Brackendale Fall Fair because they sell the most there. It's that simple," he said, adding that the event provides an important forum to socialize with fellow residents and get reconnected to the land.

"My favourite thing is that the neighbours come out and talk to one another. And the produce in the vendors' tents, well, I like the whole thing," he said.

Every year, children are entertained by face painting, hay rides and mini golf, while animal lovers get a chance to greet goats, chickens and other creatures off the farm.

Local rock and folk musicians will provide the tunes throughout the day starting at 11:15 a.m. with Carolyn Grass and Friends.

Music organizer and performer Cam Salay said the line-up consists mainly of talent that is new to the Fall Fair. The event is extremely important in boosting local talent because it provides a big but rare venue, he said.

"At the fair a lot of different people can see them so they're exposed to a large new audience of all ages. I think the live music gives everything a nice lively energy, and from a performer's point of view, it's a great new audience we get to connect with."

Alexander Cairns hits the stage at 12 p.m. followed by Michael and Richard Kilby at 12:45 p.m. CRR (Cam Salay, Rita Kyle and Rick Morgan) play at 1:30 p.m. and Quest University student Evan Captain goes on at 2:15 p.m.

Children's performer and comedian Norm Foote is expected to have audience members laughing and singing along at 3 p.m. Foote grew up in Squamish and now spends substantial time touring Canada and overseas, said Salay.

"He's a pretty big deal and definitely a pro. He's big time for us," said Salay.

The Brackendale Fall Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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