All’s ‘fair’ in Alberni

This weekend in Alberni the midway will light up, the Salt-N-Pepper will clang to life and judges will examine everything from pies to livestock as the 66th annual Alberni District Fall Fair comes to town.

Alberni District Fall Fair coordinator Ann Siddall is getting ready for another run of fun

Alberni District Fall Fair coordinator Ann Siddall is getting ready for another run of fun

There are a few changes in store for this year’s Alberni District Fall Fair, but one thing that won’t change is the fun people will have there, organizer Ann Siddall said.

Employees garbed in yellow hard hats and orange safety vests were busy unpacking and setting up midway rides on Wednesday morning.

The fair runs from Thursday evening, Sept. 8 to Sunday, Sept. 11.

Ann Siddall, who has been the fair administrator for 10 years, took a break from a busy registration night to reflect on fairs both past and present.

There are some minor changes slated for this fair, Siddall said.

Entertainment has been moved to the logger sports bowl, where a new stage has been built where performances will take place.

There will be more outdoor vendors available for fair goers.

And an exhibition hockey game will be staged on Saturday involving the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. The $10 fee to watch the game also doubles as entrance into the fair.

Despite the changes, the fair’s core events —midway, logger sports, livestock and domestic art shows— remain as popular as they’ve always been, Siddall said.

The fair remains a community event, for community members run by community members.

Siddall has been the fair manager for 10 years and before that was involved through the 4-H club.

The position was part time when she started but as the fair grew so too did the demands on her time.

“Before, you could come in for three months out of the year but now you have fundraising and partnerships and you have to be involved full time,” Siddall said.

The fair has seen some changes over the last two decades.

The area was gravel when Siddall started making the fair grounds—“a big dust bowl,” she said.

And agriculture, once a cornerstone of the fair, has slowly become less prominent than it once was, though there is still an offering.

Last year’s gate topped out at under 20,000 people, which was down from the previous year’s 21,500. “We should get up to 21,000 again if all goes well,” Siddall said.

Fair volunteer Carol Cutforth started with the fair as a work party helper 27 years ago at age 12.

“My parents were Kinsmen and involved with the fair so my sisters, brother and I were—it’s just what we did,” Cutforth said.

“My first job was building the chicken cages.”

Cutforth’s children —Braiden, 13, and Emily, 10—are involved with the fair now.

“My son loves it and his commitment is my inspiration now,” Carol said. “I love to see the fair shine in their eyes.”

Cutforth didn’t just grow up with the fair; she grew up with other volunteers too. “I have a fair mom, a fair dad and fair brothers and sisters. It’s like a family to me.”

The memories of fairs past are too numerous to mention but one thing stands out every year that Cutforth has been involved.

“There’s nothing better to me that 5 p.m. on Thursday when the gate opens for the first time and the crowds come in. That’s why I do this.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
B.C. teen who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Dry Creek Park will be closed all week as city parks crews remove hazardous trees and prepare the site for a new disc golf course. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni’s second disc golf course on the way at Dry Creek Park

Dry Creek Park will be closed for development for a week beginning June 21

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Bernadette Jordan addresses the media following a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on January 14, 2019. Jordan says the government will provide $2 million to allow First Nations to continue to strengthen the marine safety system across Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
First Nations receive federal funds to purchase marine rescue boats

Quatsino, Heiltsuk, and Kitasoo First Nation’s among eight across Canada to receive funding

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read