For the Alberni District Fall Fair, a 75-year celebration is better late than never.
The Alberni District Fall Fair was originally scheduled to hold its 75th anniversary in 2020, but this was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions. A smaller fair was held in 2021, but it’s back to business as usual for 2022.
The fair will take place from Sept. 8-11 at the Fall Fair Grounds in Port Alberni. Gates will open at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8.
This year, organizers will be bringing back some of the fair’s most popular attractions, including an artisan market, barns, Old MacDonalds Farmyard, home show and display building, beer garden and midway. There will be plenty of entertainment thorughout the weekend, including FMX motocross shows and wood carving by Ryan Cook.
The annual Fall Fair parade will also be returning this year for the first time since 2019. The parade will take place Saturday, Sept. 10 at 11 a.m. sharp. It starts at the corner of Burde Street and will travel down 10th Avenue to Alderwood Street.
For a full schedule of events, see www.albernifair.com or check out the wrap in this week’s Alberni Valley News.
A history of the fair
The first fall fairs in the Alberni Valley were held in Beaver Creek, organized by the Alberni Farmers Institute to celebrate the coming of fall and to showcase agriculture.
However, the outbreak of the Second World War in 1945 meant that many of the men in Port Alberni were off fighting the war and the Alberni Farmers Institute approached the Kinsmen Club to take over the traditional event.
Because the Kinsmen was a service club, it could not hold property. So in 1946, the Alberni District Fall Fair Association was formed and became their own society. They held their first official fair that same year.
The association was originally scheduled to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2020, but this was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions.
Shortly after taking over the fair, the association was gifted some of its present land and buildings from the government of Canada when an army camp was disbanded. Over the years, the Fall Fair Association bought up and leased some lands from the city surrounding the fair grounds. They slowly made improvements to the present Kin Hut and erected other buildings, including the barns and Kinsmen Community Center.
Midway rides first made an appearance in the 1960s, when Bingo Hauser brought West Coast Amusements to the Alberni Valley. To this day, the West Coast Amusements legacy carries on with a much bigger show with Hauser’s grandchildren now at the helm.
This year will also mark the return of Logger Sports, which was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Logger sports have been held in the Alberni Valley since the early 1900s, in various locations throughout the Alberni Valley. The Elks Club was the last organization to run it, before handing over the reins to Alan and Jean Boyko almost 50 years ago.
After 10 years of success on their own, the Boykos joined forces with the Fall Fair and moved Logger Sports to the fair grounds. Since then, Sunday has had a long-standing tradition as Logger Sports Day at the fair.
This year will mark 38 years that the Logger Sports will have taken place at the fall fair grounds. Prelims will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
Alberni Valley Transition Towns will once again be providing a “bike valet” at the Fall Fair Grounds, where fair goers can safely leave their bikes.
They will also be offering the opportunity to win a beautiful new mountain bike, valued at $1,000. The giveaway, which is being organized by Cycle Alberni, is funded by three local sponsors: Jumping Slug Community Cyclery, Karen Maika—Remax Mid-Island Realty and GoByBike BC.
This year’s fall GoByBike weeks will take place Oct. 3-16.
Today the fair looks a lot different, but its roots remain the same. As this year is the 75th celebration, the fall fair will be featuring a display of memories from years gone by.