Times Colonist from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on September 3, 1992 · 32
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Times Colonist from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada · 32

Publication:
Location:
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Issue Date:
Thursday, September 3, 1992
Page:
32
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TWO Agricultural society harvests a winner By Frances Utman Since their inception 123 yean ago. North and South Saanich Agricultural Society member have experienced their "fair" share of ground breaking. Prom pioneering the first Saao-ich Fair in 13G3 ocr the farm of first president Robert Brown, to this year's move to a new 7&acre site at 1523 S telly's Cross Road, this 270member group of farmers and residents continues to sow the seeds of its own success. "We would have become a victim of our success had we not moved," claims former board member Ken Staniake, referring to the board's decision to re-locate- from its long time 18-acre home in Saanichton to Cumberland Farms. "When we found ourselves surrounded by townhouses, in need of new buildings and lacking parking, we knew time was passing us by." Determined to remain western Canada's oldest continuous agricultural fair, a core group of volunteers has been working diligently since 1980 to locate and secure a site to accommodate the anticipated 60,000 fairgoers who attend this annual three-day Labour Day weekend event Using funds from the sale of the former fairgrounds, the society acquired in 1989 what everyone agrees is a much more rural setting. "It's going to be real country fair!," says society president Sylvia Hutt, noting that until the group's new 19.000 square foot exhibition hall is completed this December, the fair will be held, rain or shine, in huge tents. Uutt, a Saanich falrgocr since the 1320's and the daughter of one of its early directors, has seen the fair grow so much over the years that she is not only excited but relieved to see it move. "Who would have known even 30 yean ago that the fair would outgrow its former home, which, at one time, was in the middle of the country." she says, recalling how, for instance, the floral section began with one small table and grew to become one of the fair's largest sections, requiring virtually a hall to itself. "One of the first things I remember about the fair is the introduction of Highland dancing in the HEO's," she says, adding that it still draws crowds, as does the livestock, household arts, needle arts and crafts, entertainment, caged bird show, preserved foods, animals, fruits and vegetables, minemakJng, Junior section and all those other wonderful things that make the Saanich Fair unique, "The junior section is a fair in itself, it's great to see so many young people involved in such a variety of activities. This group is the fair of tomorrow," she happily announces, noting the participation of successive generations. "The fair was and will continue to be a community meeting place. There are families who have been coming to it for years." John DtCastri is one Victorian mmm r TM TTTiT II 1 tt 11 I i , wngraiuiduuns if am The Prairie Inn to another Pioneer Family, The Saanich Fair One of Vancouver Island's Pioneer Landmarks established in 1 859 welcomes you to come savour the atmosphere of our Cottage Brewery. We use only the finest ingredients imported from all over the world. There's no additives or preservatives. We have a full luncheon and dinner menu from 1 1 :30 a.m. to 1 1 :00 p.m., with specials Sunday. EAST SAANICH ROAD & MT. NEWTON CROSS ROAD Turn U'I (Nor?) 01 WjJ.k Roal for appro. 2 km to Mr Nwon Cn. Road m wnm inn NEIGHBOURHOOD PUB & COTTAGE BREWERY BEER & WINE STORE New beginning for fair marks giant step forward J i J SAANICH Pontrtsuti strawberry pekoes take Xmm out lor a prtotograprt (area R20 wch ro Uconw a historic port of tr North and Soutft Sojrwrh Agrtcuftural Sooety'a coat with a long and deep attachment to the fair. "My family has made it a tradition to attend the Saanich Fair since the 1330." says this architect responsible for the design of the fair's exhibition hall the center piece of the new site. "This has been a wonderful opportunity to do something special with a beautiful location," he says, explaining that by Incorporating pitched bam like roofs and weathered boards from the old hall in the design of the new structure he has attempted to echo the rural ambiance of the setting. "This is a very honest building. It speaks for Itself, there's nothing high tech about it at all." he adds. In addition to the main exhibition halt, construction has alto begun on three smaller exhibition areas, a kitchen and a 120 scat dining room. "As Central Saanich docsnl ha a rrc center, we foresee the hall will become a popular community center." says board member Ellen Cuttormsoo. citing a multitude of uses ranging from society and club activities to dances and weddings. Thanks to volunteer skills and labor, the Cumberland Farm site will also feature a number of new barns, stalls and what is sooo to become Vancouver Island's largest riding nog. Everything, including the barns, will be earthquake proof and to code hcn complete. One project that volunteers have been working on steadily for the past two years is a 1M0 square foot bam formerly used by the RCMP Musical Ride at Expo 80. Shipped to Victoria in 13 trailer loads, the bam will be used mainly fur 4 tl and heavy hone activities. "The heritage and nostalgia of the Saanich fair bat built upon a bunch of old boards and a piece of ground." ujrs Stanlake, referring to the oppouUoQ some people have had to the move. "It's the people and the fair's traditional elements, such as the animals, vegetables and handicrafts, that retain the flavor of aa old time country fair." adds Cuttormsoo, who notes that a great deal of care has been taken to preserve the nostalgia. "This is not a Unf, commercial fair." she says. "This is a commo-niijr event WeVe had work parties day and m&tl preparing for the fair. It's amatieg that a fur of this caliber can be produced by such a relatively small number of pro-pie. We even have old listers ho may not be able to pound nails tike they used to, but have been showing up seven days a week to help out It's these people who make the Saanich lair so special Food fuels community groups A wide variety of local community groups and clubs derive tremendous financial benefit from their participation in the Saanich Fair every year. For many of these groups the Saanich Fair is their main fund ratscr. Concessions, providing numer ous different tjpes of foods and beverages, are run by the Lions, Guides and Scouts. Sunjct Hone Club. 411. the Lesion, and the Saanichton Elementary Home and School Aitociatton, Thu year, food itl alia be provided by S:ct!) ' lU'h School AU OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK $ ,.;. X . 1 - I FABRIC iT-ij1 N FASHIONS 111 j 'II . ! I I J. ' . SAVINGS UP IO bQT, ,V '. M I ' teqitfr cx oJ Ctoaioa NOW! 'J I. ;.k ' J of thcc food b-xit are ita.Tcd by volunteers, many of hog put la eitrcmc! lor. hour. W ith the relocation of the Saanich Fair to S!eS!y Ctw Road, there ha been the a iJ.tioaal burden of movsr.jt. ratr.'.irf. rewtocg an 1 f r f-- r.rt !-v.C tocth.1. 'Aceke&di and holiday time hi-.e hern t! t.iv ) t partr.u. Irier.4 ' i fasr.;r ta bnng every-thin Vr'.hcr in litre fat lite f.rt ti.t at the tif faircroundiL (V.fr.f n!. drs-ik ar.J sup pert yo-it cc-c-.n-4S;!y grof t.: ST rrVTXM Ot'S A.iU' t l.Tt nt. r !j. V;t Onrfa! A'lsf.Ht.in J." CO ,"f(li as 1 rt 1 U HiA iJitabted an J uaier4free Free fartrg

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