The Alberni District Fall Fair has been cancelled for 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Fall Fair board of directors made the decision on Monday night, April 20. The announcement comes after B.C.’s top medical health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said no large events would be permitted to move forward during the summer. The Fall Fair was slated for Sept. 10–13.
The cancellation is particularly disappointing, 2020 Fall Fair chairperson Scott Green said, because this year was to be the 75th anniversary of the fair.
“We recognize our event is a collective place to meet, and a celebration that our community looked forward to, but realistically the safety of our guests is most important,” Green stated in a press release.
The Fall Fair has never had to cancel in its 75-year history, until now. “In 1945, the first fair was really scaled back,” said Ann Siddall, longtime administrator for the Fall Fair. “All the men had gone off to war. They had one building that was just horticulture.”
The board of directors has been looking at their options since Henry’s announcement cancelling mass gatherings, Siddall said. “I don’t see how we can move forward.”
Cancelling the fair has impacted the organization financially, and Green acknowledged there are other people and groups that will be affected by this decision.
The Fall Fair association will be looking at how it put on some other events that support social distancing but will ensure the fair stays solvent. “It takes a lot of revenue to put on the fair, with several direct fair expenses already committed to for 2020 along with fixed expenses that we rely on for the upkeep of the fairgrounds,” Green said.
“We are a resilient group and know we will return in 2021 with a 75th celebration to remember.”