Fall fair offers fun for all the family

Cobble Hill Fair last year sees Janey Woolls of the Cowichan Community 4H Club with Vanessa, a black cooper maran. - Andrew Leong/file
Cobble Hill Fair last year sees Janey Woolls of the Cowichan Community 4H Club with Vanessa, a black cooper maran.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

With the long stretch of hot weather we've had this summer, many are savouring the dog days of summer and mourning its end.

That's not the case for members of the Shawnigan Cobble Hill Farmers institute and Agricultural Society, as they welcome the fall with an annual rite of passage: preparing for the annual Cobble Hill Fall Fair. This year's fair, the 105th, is being held August 23.

Interestingly, 4-H, which is an integral part of the fair is also celebrating an important anniversary, its  100th in B.C.

For George Baird, vice-president of the fair, both organizations have played a big role in his life.

The owner/partner of Baird Brothers Farm, which raises cattle and sells beef, was a member of 4-H from 9-19 and then a leader of 4-H's beef club from 1985 to 2000. He's been involved with the fair for 15 years.

"4-H teaches kids how to work with animals, how to do demonstrations and how to public speak," Baird said. "It's amazing how these skills transfer and how much it helps them at school."

Last year, 5,500 people attended the fair and Baird says there's a growing interest because of books like The Hundred Mile Diet and the increased interest in food security.

"We need more farmers out there, agriculture is very important and fairs like this give people the opportunity to see what it's all about."

In addition to the usual fair staples — a pancake breakfast, parade, afternoon tea, and a number of food and livestock exhibits — Baird says a few other crowd favourites come to mind.

There's Percy Cowan and his border collies, working his sheep and then later, "driving," some ducks.

Or Andrew Poland, of Poland Crane and Hauling, who uses a crane to lift people in a manned basket 75 feet into the air, for an aerial view of Cobble Hill and the fair.

And the opportunity to see corn stocks that are, "as high as an elephant's eye," as the lyrics from the musical Oklahoma say. While there might not be any elephants in the valley to support those claims, Baird said corn loves the heat and that might account for the fact some stocks are 14 feet tall.

Whether it's the produce, the animals or the parade, Baird says it's a great way to spend the day.

"It's your good old fashioned fair," he said. "It's a great place to see everyone you haven't seen in a long time, everyone goes home happy."

If you do attend August 23, keep an eye out for four generations of Baird's family: Baird, his mom, his children and grandchildren.

Schedule of Events

7:00  a.m. Pancake breakfast                                                                                                                8:30  a.m. Cobble Hill Horse Show                                                                                                     9:30  a.m. Parade                                                                                                                                 10:00 a.m. Official opening, exhibit halls open                                                                                      10:30 a.m. Miniature Horse Show                                                                                                  10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Stage entertainment                                                                                             11:30 a.m. Women's Institute Tea                                                                                                        1:00 p.m. Scarecrow competition                                                                                                     5:00 p.m. Fair closes

For more information, or to register for an event (deadline is August 16, but late entrants are OK), visit

Your ticket

What The 105th annual Cobble Hill Fall Fair

When Saturday, August 23, 2014

Where Cobble Hill Village, between High Street, Watson Avenue and Fisher Road.

Tickets Children under 12, free; juniors (12-16) and seniors, $5; adults (17-64 $7. 

Some of the things you can do at the popular fair:

- Participate in the parade by decorating your bike or mini float, for the chance to win a first, second or third prize;

- Make a poster for the poster contest, reflecting next year's theme - This Fair's for Ewe - Kid;

- Enter the dog show and compete for the biggest/smallest dog, best trick, and best dressed dog and owner honours;

- Participate in the fast and furious scarecrow building contest; materials are provided. This event's open to teams of adults, teams of children or teams of families and individuals;

- Exhibit your home grown vegetables, field produce and fruit;

- Show off the table runner you've sewn and decorated, using applique;

- Display your crocheted and knitted articles in a variety of categories, ranging from Afghans to socks;

- Demonstrate your flower arranging skills, using a variety of materials including galoshes and muffin tins;

- Take the opportunity to show those attending what a good seamstress you are, whether it's a Christmas decoration or a stuffed toy;

- Show everyone what a fashionista you are, by the  clothes that you wear or;

- Give world-renowned photographer Ansel Adams a run for the money, with your photography skills.

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