The Alberni District Fall Fair is going virtual this year.
Due to provincial COVID-19 restrictions, the Alberni District Fall Fair board of directors made the decision back in April to cancel the fair for 2020.
However, organizers are still hoping to showcase local businesses, sponsors, agriculture, arts and entertainment in an online format.
“It was important for us to be able to have some sort of community event,” explained Carol Brown, one of the Fall Fair organizers. “It’s pretty exciting, but it’s also new to a lot of people.”
Fair attendees will be able to watch the fair’s home arts competition or browse booths live over Facebook and online at www.myfair.ca. The MyFair website, which was built by volunteer software engineers and developers out of the University of Victoria, acts as a sort of “hub,” said Brown. The site will go live on Friday morning (Sept. 11).
“It’s still in the testing phase,” said Brown. “The more people that take advantage of it, the better it will work.”
People who are interested in entering a booth in the virtual fair can do so at any time, free of charge. Fall Fair volunteers will help “ease the process,” said Brown, by offering help or even building the virtual booth space for people who might not be comfortable with the virtual components.
In addition to the virtual components this year, the Alberni District Fall Fair Association will also be holding a raffle and a COVID-19-friendly market at the Fall Fair Grounds.
The raffle, launched online in May, features a $25,000 cash prize. Tickets are $10 each, and only 5,000 are available. All proceeds will be going back to the Alberni District Fall Fair Association. Tickets can be purchased online at www.albernifair.com and in person at the Fall Fair grounds on Friday, Sept. 11 (4-8 p.m.) and Saturday, Sept. 12 (9 a.m. to 8 p.m.). The draw will be at noon on Sunday, Sept. 13.
Brown said ticket sales have been slow so far, but the association is “close” to reaching the break even point. The raffle will help the association financially, as the fair’s cancellation has significantly affected revenue.
“It’s really important to us to be able to sell out our raffle,” she said.
The physical market will take place on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be 11 vendors, selling everything from books to baking to crafts. Masks are required, and will be provided if necessary. COVID-19 guidelines regarding the number of people permitted at one time will be followed.
The Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society will have a “small” display on site, and Marim Bam Buzz will be providing some musical entertainment.