With the kids back at school and chillier nights on the horizon, a touch of fall is in the air and autumn wouldn’t be complete in the Columbia Valley without the always-popular Windermere Fall Fair and Scarecrow Festival.
“It’s a really good time, most people are so excited about the vendors, space for the kids to run and the entertainment,” said festival chair Cheri Hann. “Most people who come are surprised at how long they stay… they think they’ll come, check out a few vendors and leave, and they end up staying because there’s always something going on.”
Taking place this year on Sunday (September 16) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Windermere Community Hall and on the grounds of the Windermere Elementary School, the festival offers a jam-packed lineup of activities and entertainment for festivalgoers of all ages. Starting at 11 a.m., the music begins with the sounds of the Second Winds Community Band before the scarecrow judging and best-dressed pet contest take centre stage. At 12:30 p.m., festival founder Bill Ayrton will introduce the highly-anticipated wife-carrying contest and wheelbarrow races, followed by the Windermere foam splashdown at 2 p.m., courtesy of the Windermere Fire Department, which gives kids a chance to frolic in what little warm weather remains.
“We really encourage people to dress up, and to bring their pets dressed up,” Hann said. “We want to make it as fun and colourful as possible.”
Scheduled events are only the crust of the home-baked apple pie as vendors, artisans and a wide range of judged contests will also run throughout the day, all the while accompanied by some great live music. Contests include juried baking, horticulture, and photography for kids and adults alike, while craftsmen including a blacksmith, wood carvers and quilters will show off their trades. The David Thompson Secondary School leadership class will also be setting up a kids’ activity tent where sack races and facepainting are likely to be included. Hann estimates roughly 2,000 people attend the festival each year, which serves as the main fundraiser for the Windermere Community Association and helps run the Windermere Community Centre as well as put on a variety of family activities throughout the year, including the annual Easter egg hunt and an upcoming Halloween party.
“It’s just incredible that the community is supporting a local event,” Hann said. “There are a lot of locals that attend as well as people from Calgary, and I think its just an amazing opportunity for people to relax, and really get to know your neighbours.”
Hann would also like to send a special thank you to the approximately 200 volunteers who help with setup and the running of the festival, and also thanks Pat vanRegen and Sharon Ferris for their efforts in putting the festival together. Admission for the event is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages five to 15, and free for children under five. Dogs on non-retractable leashes are also welcome. The event is also looking for more vendors, and anyone interested is asked to contact Gracie Boake at 250-342-0589.