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Fair dedication just part of life for Pringle
For Cobble Hill’s Romey Pringle, the Cobble Hill Fair is not an event she gets too terribly excited about.
Maybe it’s because it’s such a standard staple in her yearly calendar of activities. Or that she’s spent the last 40 years volunteering for the the country fair. Or possibly because she grew up living on farms, surrounded by animals and produce.
The goings-on at the fair are simply a way of life for the 79-year-old.
But Pringle, who’s known around the fairgrounds as the Ribbon Lady, has a big hand in organizing the fair’s batches of ribbons for all its events and many categories.
Pringle spent her childhood in Shawnigan Lake and has lived in Victoria and Cowichan Station before moving to Cobble Hill in 1972.
“She discovered the Cobble Hill Fair as a child and took an immediate interest in the annual celebration,” said fair organizers in a press release. “The family had a small farm and her father started entering events showing off his fine vegetables and flowers. Not to be outdone, Romey, in her early teens, brought her own lettuce to the fair and won first prize for growing the three and a half pound vegetable.”
Pringle doesn’t remember that hunk of lettuce.
“If I hadn’t gotten that picture of me with the lettuce, I wouldn’t have remembered it at all,” said Pringle.
When thinking back to her childhood, she does recall her father donating flowers to the fair and entering sweat peas in the competition.
“We had 10 acres then, and he gave me a little plot to grow some things myself,” explained Pringle, noting she was between about 12 and 16 when they’d lived in Cowichan Station.
The fair tradition carried on with Pringle as the years passed.
“The experience planted a desire to be a part of the fair community and Romey has been involved as a volunteer for more than 40 years,” fair organizers said of Pringle’s lettuce win and the years of participation and volunteerism that followed.
“For several years she was treasurer of Shawnigan Cobble Hill Farmers Institute and Agricultural Society, and for the past decade has been responsible for the rosettes and prize ribbons. Romey’s interest in the society and fair has been passed down to two daughters who also volunteer.”
Although Pringle doesn’t like the attention given to her for the work she’s done for the community’s annual shindig, there’s a slight twinkle in her eyes when she speaks of her favourite part of the fair.
“I’ve always liked vegetable gardening. Even living in Victoria, I had veggies,” she said. “I’m not really all that interested in the animals. I like to go in the halls and see what they’ve got in there.”
She’s also got a few possible ribbon winners growing in her garden, but wouldn’t disclose what’s she entering.
“It should be pretty good this year,” she said.
Pringle remains an active member of the Shawnigan Cobble Hill Farmers Institute and Agricultural Society, and also gives her time to other community organizations including the Mill Bay Food Bank, South Cowichan Visitor Information Centre and the Shawnigan Lake Museum. She was also recognized by fair organizers this spring for a lifetime of volunteering with a special award.
The 104th annual edition or the fair takes place Aug. 24.
“This year the fair’s theme is, ‘What’s the Buzz’ (honouring) bees and their value to agriculture,” states Shawnigan-Cobble Hill Farmers’ Intitute and Agricultural Society president George Baird. “This year will be our second year of the expanded area across the road from the community hall, the Cobble Hill Commons area.”
The fair’s roster features truly something for everyone.
“From the Saturday morning pancake breakfast, to the horse show, the exhibits, the entertainment and our ‘What’s the Buzz’ theme of bees, there is truly something for everyone,” said fair chairman James Clark.
For more fair information, click here.