The annual Fall Fair takes place on the Paradise Exhibition Grounds from noon to 5 pm on September 23 and 24.
This will be the 91st year for the event in the qathet region, which is not only a space for local farmers and growers to exhibit their harvesting and husbandry skills, but also an important fundraiser for Powell River Farmers’ Agricultural Institute (PRFAI). The fair promises to entertain folks who visit the grounds and celebrate farmers and the abundant harvest of the fall season.
The two exhibition barns will have produce, artisan goods and animals on display, in competition to be judged, (on Friday evening) using the American System of Judging. PRFAI supports farmers, farming and food systems in the region and organizes the Fall Fair.
“The Fall Fair is like the farmers’ market on steroids,” said Fall Fair coordinator, Mark Gisborne. “The fair happens at the same location with similar vendors [as regular weekend farmers’ markets], but there are so many more events here during that time.”
Gisborne said groups such as the Rotary Club of Powell River will be on the grounds, and the big draw is the two exhibition barns.
“PRFAI members will be in competition for best tomato, best eggs, best honey products, best flowers, best fruit and a lot more,” said Gisborne. “The other barn is the animal barn, with the 4-H club displaying their hens, roosters, rabbits and other livestock.”
There is also a junior class competition for younger folks to compete, including livestock, arts and hobbies, fruits and nuts and baking.
The Fall Fair serves as a way to generate revenue for the agricultural institute, which looks after the Paradise Exhibition Grounds, located at 4365 McLeod Road.
“This year we are trying something a little different,” said Gisborne. “In the past we charged a $5 entry fee, but we heard from volunteers and community members that [the entry fee] was a bit of a barrier for low income people.”
Gisborne emphasized that working in agriculture is hard work, and not necessarily something that brings in a lot of money.
“Some of us were looking at community demographics and saw a growing wealth disparity,” said Gisborne. “So this year, it’s by donation; those who can afford it can donate more and those who can’t don’t have to worry about it.”
There will be a pipe band starting the fair off, which will ride the Paradise Valley Railroad on the fairgrounds. Every year is a little different, said Gisborne, but the annual zucchini races are always a big hit.
Fall Fair entry forms should have been submitted by September 17, (late online forms can be submitted until September 21), but exhibits or items to be in competition should arrive at the exhibition hall or livestock barn between noon and 6 pm, Friday September 22. Judging takes place Friday evening. Prizes will be given out Sunday of the fair between 5 and 7 pm.
To avoid last year's traffic jam and parking problems, Gisborne suggests taking the Fall Fair free shuttle as there will be no parking on the fairgrounds (except handicap parking off the Myrtle Avenue entrance). The shuttle bus service runs from Town Centre mall’s north entrance, both days.
Online entry forms can be found at prfarmers.ca/pages/powell-river-fall-fair, in a PDF at the bottom of the page.
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