When the Saanich Fair opens its gates on the Labour Day weekend (Sept. 2 to 4), it will mark 155 years for what has come to be a signature community event for Vancouver Island.
The theme of this year’s fair is “Jammin’ at the Fair,” and the feature is Preserved Foods, but don’t be fooled – there’s a lot more to the fair than jellies and jams.
The anticipated 50,000 guests will experience the midway with all the rides, games and attractions, all set to the background of joyful squeals of laughter from children and adults alike.
No one will be going hungry at the fair, of course, as a host of food trucks will be spread across the property. Hot dogs, fries, pizza, ice cream, cotton candy and more will all be on offer and, as always, local service groups, including Rotary, Lions and Boy Scouts, will be on hand to add their own culinary delights.
For those looking for home-grown snacks, a variety of breads, pies, produce and more will be on sale by local producers and, for those who want a temporary respite from the hubbub of the fair, organizers have established a sit-down dining area at the Dogwood Room.
But the Saanich Fair offers far more than just the midway and food.
The Coastal Cowgirls, an equestrian drill team, will be performing and guests can also take in the horse shows, livestock displays and canine flyball competitions.
Wait – flyball, you say?
That’s a sport where dogs race against each other from the start to the finish line, over a line of hurdles, to a box that releases a tennis ball to be caught when the dog presses the spring-loaded pad, then back to their handlers while carrying the ball.
And what fair would be complete without agricultural produce or craft displays and competitions? Scores of residents and crafters have entered everything from handmade jewelry and knitted wonders to Lego creations and, naturally, local farmers have added more agricultural entries than you can shake a hoe at.
For the wee ones, there’s even a kid’s area, set aside from the hustle and bustle of the midway where they can get up close and personal with giant (for them at least) farm machinery and participate in games and activities.
And last, but by no means least, there’s the main stage entertainment.
There’ll be a full range of entertainment running each day on the main stage – from local performers to chainsaw artists.
On Saturday night Aaron Pritchett will take the stage and Sunday evening Prism will top off the evening.
Gates are open in Central Saanich at the Saanich Fairgrounds, 1528 Stelly’s Cross Rd., from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Sept. 2 and 3, and from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4. For more information, go to saanichfair.ca.