More than 800 people attended this year’s Ashcroft and District Fall Fair on September 11; a big increase from 2015, when fewer than 500 people came through the doors. There was also an increase in the number of entrants and overall entries from last year: 117 entrants with 776 entries.
“At least half of the entrants were new,” notes Fall Fair committee president Jessica Clement. One group of entrants came up from North Vancouver; they had seen a notice about the date of the fair earlier in the year, and came up specifically to take part. There was also an increase in the number of family entries.
Attendees were encouraged to “Veg Out” at this year’s fair. Photo by Barbara Roden.
This year the committee made admission to the fair by donation, and also did away with advertising in the Fall Fair booklet. Instead, previous advertisers were asked to sponsor prizes for different entries, resulting in more than $2,200 in prizes.
“I’m please with how it went,” says Clement. “I’ve had lots of positive comments, and everyone loved the entertainment and the new set-up for the vendors and displays.” The food concessions did a roaring business, with many attendees taking advantage of the sunshine to eat outdoors.
The Kamloops Oldtime Fiddlers were back with another crowd-pleasing set, and Kamloops country band Buck Wild played two energetic sets where they covered classics by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, CCR, Johnny Cash, and more. And entertainer Filetta Fish — making her third appearance at the fair — once more delighted the crowd, young and old, with her mix of clowning, comedy, juggling, and more.
Popular entertainer Filetta Fish gets advice from the audience. Photo by Barbara Roden.
The Great Zucchini Race attracted several contestants, as did the AMOOzing Race, which saw teams dashing around downtown Ashcroft to complete challenges. A nail-driving contest challenged people to test their strength (and accuracy), and there were several prize draws and raffles. The event ended with an auction of many of the edible entries (pies, baking, preserves, and vegetables).
The committee had decided that if attendance this year was once more below 500, there would not be a fair in 2017. The success of this year’s event leaves Clement cautiously optimistic that the Fall Fair — which has been operating almost continuously in Ashcroft since 1889 — will be back next year. It will depend, however, on whether the committee can get more volunteers.
“The committee needs to look at that for next year,” she says. “The lack of volunteers is an issue. If we have enough people who are committed, we’ll do it again next year.”
Anyone interested in being part of the Fall Fair committee, or volunteering their time with the set-up and/or running of the fair, should call Clement at (250) 457-7128.