Fort St. John’s 65th annual Fall Fair is about fun for the whole family, farmer-style.
“It’s grown in leaps and bounds with all kinds of things,” said Eleanor Steffensen, one of the event’s organizers. She has been involved for the past 20 years.
“The whole idea behind our fair, because it’s a family event with no beer gardens and no midway, is to entertain the whole family as inexpensively as possible and also to teach town people, or town kids, a little bit about agriculture in our area,” she said.
She noted that the biggest growth has been with the tractor pull, entertainment and the kids section.
“Everything has increased immensely,” she said. “They have a cattle show; they have a horse show; they have sheep.”
She said that along with the livestock, there’s information that explains the “different breeds and what they’re used for.”
Steffensen said her favourite part of the fair is the “antique tractor parade,” which takes place in the morning before the tractor pull.
“I just like to look at the old tractors because I’m an old farmer from Alberta,” she said.
Though she’s lived here for 35 years and currently works in a law office, Steffensen said farming is important to any community.
“If it wasn’t for agriculture in any community, the food supply would be crazy,” she said. “I think it’s an honest profession, farming.
“I don’t know that we use products locally other than through our farmers market and stuff what our farmers grow, but we definitely use the products of the wheat and products of the oats and all the rest of it, which eventually comes back to the grocery stores,” she said.
She noted that kids have the opportunity to see how wheat is processed into flour, which subsequently ends up as baked goods through various booths at the fair.
Steffensen explained that she got involved because she loved farming, but also because the fair was facing “financial problems” a few years ago and “they were looking for people to volunteer.
“A whole bunch of us joined at that time and it’s been that way ever since,” she said.
Though there is a core group, Steffensen said “there’s always a volunteer issue.”
“People are too busy and afraid to get involved in new things, afraid of what it might entail,” she said.
The North Peace Fall Fair begins on Friday and runs until Sunday.
“We just would like everybody to come out and enjoy their time with us,” said Steffensen. “We have excellent stage entertainment.
“We have a dance on Saturday night,” she continued. “It’s a family dance and kids and everybody gets into it.
“It’s just a really nice weekend.”