It was a disappointing year for the Ashcroft & District Fall Fair, but sometimes disappointment leads to good changes.
“We less than 500 visitors this year,” said Fall Fair Association president Jessica Clement. “That’s less than half of what we had five years ago. But we had more people than normal complain about the $5 admission fee.”
She said the complaints baffled her until she remembered that no other major event in Ashcroft charged an admission fee. They were either free or “by donation”, she said.
It’s something that the association might want to consider, Clement said.
“I was disappointed in the lack of response from the community,” she said.
Entries were down in every category. People told her that they forgot or they didn’t have time. The Fruits and Vegetables entries used to take up eight tables. This year it only used two.
Clement said the other BC Fairs had a great year, according to comments she heard at the annual BC Fairs convention. Armstrong raised their admission to $18 per person and no one seemed to complain.
“It’s hard for us on the committee,” she said. “We have so many ideas but we need people to help carry them out. We couldn’t do the aMOOzing race this year. It was all set to go but we needed 10 people and we only had three.”
Most of the volunteer jobs are for short duration projects, such as the two-hour race.
“Everything was noticeably down this year,” Clement said. “We don’t know how to reverse that.”
It’s going to be a hard pitch to the vendors, she said, to tell them that this was just a bad year and to ask them to come back again next year.
She thinks more prizes might be an answer. Instead of selling advertising for their booklet next year, they’re going to ask their advertisers to sponsor entries nstead.
She feels that having more category aggregates might help participants collect points for a prize.
“We need to change pretty much everything,” she said, although what that is going to look like has yet to be decided.
She said the group has just had its debriefing meeting – a discussion of September’s Fair – so they haven’t discussed new plans yet. But they do have a couple of new members who she’s hoping will have some fresh ideas.
She said she’d like to have more activities in the Ag-tivity Zone, including some like crafts that will include adults.
“We just have to look at everhthing differently,” she said. “Enough so that it’s different but not too much. We will still promote and showcase agriculture and home crafts.”
And it will still be a one-day event on the second Sunday of September.
She said the theme for next year’s Fair is vegetables. “Turn up for the Fair and veg out!” she said.
The committee’s next meeting is Jan. 19 at Blue Sage at 6:30 pm. Anyone wishing to join or share some ideas is invited to come to the meeting or contact Jessica.