South Arm Country Fair could be celebrating for final summer

The South Arm Country Fair – a Richmond summer staple for nearly 60 years – may be saying farewell this Saturday at its 59th celebration.

The annual fair put on by South Arm United Church has brought together thousands of guests to enjoy hayrides, bake sales, performances and a massive garage sale. But Olwen Walker, the fair’s chair, said some dedicated volunteers are starting to run out of steam.

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“It’s getting hard to keep going because a lot of our long-time volunteers are in their 70s and 80s and when you get up to that age while you may have the time to be doing things, you just don’t have the energy or the physical strength,” Walker told the Richmond News.

“I would say that is the big reason. We may have to look at doing things differently.”

Walker, who has been involved in the fair for over 20 years, says she’s enjoyed how the annual event brings together community members and out-of-town visitors.

“We used to have a whole bunch of frozen pies for sale and there was an Air Canada pilot who used to fly in in the morning of the sale from Winnipeg and he would buy about 10 of the frozen pies and take them back to Winnipeg with him,” said Walker, reminiscing about past years of the fair.

“There’s a guy who comes up from Seattle every year and buys two dozen jars of dill pickles.

“So I think those are kind of interesting little stories…(the fair) really does attract all sorts of people.”

This year’s fair will see the usual festivities including games, rides, food, live entertainment and the famous garage sale on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 pm.

For now it’s undecided whether this will be the last fair or not.

“It might be the last one. I’m personally really hoping we make it to 60 and we may go beyond that,” said Walker.

“It’s supposed to be for the community and pull it together, a place to have fun and hopefully a safe place for everyone, no matter what your beliefs are.”

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