The 153rd running of the Saanich Fair over the Labour Day weekend will have some aspects scaled down due to the ongoing pandemic.
Organizers told Black Press Media that most of the fair’s pieces are falling into place, but it’s been no small task to compress a planning process that usually starts in January into two months.
“It’s a roller coaster, but we’re having fun,” said Shirley Butler, president of the North and South Saanich Agricultural Society.
Fairs and festivals that have a communicable disease plan in place can return to normal under Step 3 of B.C.’s reopening plan. The Saanich Fair is still trying to recruit volunteers as more are needed to ensure the event is as safe as can be.
“We’re going to have volunteers at every door going into buildings just to make sure that people understand to keep moving,” Butler said.
Masking up will be up to each attendee, but the fair will be asking staff to wear them if they’re not fully vaccinated.
“We are going to do our very best to protect everybody,” Butler said. “We’re really on top of being cautious and aware that we are not out of the pandemic yet, but we definitely want to give people fun at the fair.”
The amount of entries will be reduced this year, especially for indoor departments like baking and the arts.
“Anything in buildings, we are minimizing and making sure that people can have a quick little look and then move on out,” Butler said.
Attendees will again get to see different kinds of farm animals, but there will be fewer of them this year. The midway, run by West Coast Amusements, will be back and also has its own strict COVID-19 protocols. A kids’ zone will run activities like tractor rides and sack races, entertainment will be on the main stage throughout every day and the fairgrounds will once again have all sorts of concession and commercial booths on hand.
“We’re truly looking forward to representing agriculture like we usually do and I know that the people in town love to come out to the country fair,” Butler said.
After being born and raised on a farm, Butler’s favourite part of the fair is seeing the animals and getting transported back to farm life for a weekend. She said people are what makes the fair, with many frequenting the event every September.
The Saanich Fair’s opening ceremonies will start at noon Saturday (Sept. 4) and will feature performances from local First Nations groups.
Tickets for the fair are available at saanichfair.tickit.ca.
Attendees are encouraged to take photos featuring themselves with a product from B.C. farmers, producers and processors for a chance to win prizes, through a Buy B.C. contest. More info can be found at bcfairs.ca.