Residents of southwestern Alberta can take a trip back in time Saturday, Sept. 14 at Heritage Acres Farm Museum.
The second annual Fall Fair revives the tradition of the fall fairs and bench shows that for years were an annual highlight of community life in small towns.
“We’re just hoping to grow it so people realize it’s a unique opportunity for all ages to come and relive some of the past,” museum volunteer Debbie Berg said.
Area residents can enter their creations for judging in a variety of categories including cooking, canning, vegetables, sewing and needlework, quilting, farming, pets and poultry.
The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., also features an old-time threshing bee and demonstrations of old-fashioned methods for making butter and ice cream.
There are children’s activities in Ashvale school, demonstrations by the Southern Alberta Working and Herding Dog Association, a turkey shoot and an old-fashioned lunch.
“I’d like people to know it’s a quieter day, it’s not a big commercial event,” Berg said. “It’s more like an old-fashioned family picnic.”
For this year only, the Fall Fair will run in conjunction with Heritage Acres annual show.
The annual show was postponed from its usual spot on the Heritage Day long weekend in August due to heavy rain.
The Fall Fair takes place only on Saturday, Sept. 14.
“We’re putting the two together, but Saturday the focus is going to be the fall fair,” Berg said.
The Fall Fair is modelled on fairs 100 years ago in Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod.
Heritage Acres is dedicated to preserving farming heritage, and its volunteers are also committed to bringing history to life for younger generations.
The fall fairs and bench shows were always popular community events that gave people a chance to exhibit their favourite creations.
The fall fairs and bench shows also brought the entire community together for fun and fellowship — something Heritage Acres also wants to recreate.
“The part that we’re really looking to grow is that bench show,” Berg said. “We won’t know until people start bringing things.”
For a $5 fee anyone can enter the bench show.
Section 1 is dedicated to grains and grasses, with entries accepted in native grass hay, hay and greenfeed, sheaves, and native plants and weeds.
Section 2 is dedicated to sewing and needlework with categories for sewing, hand-knitting, crocheting, hand embroidery and heritage quilting.
Pets and poultry are the focus in Section 3.
Section 4 is dedicated to home cooking, with categories for bread and buns, biscuits, cakes and pies.
Section 5 concentrates on canning, with entries of pickles, jams, jelly, beans, fruit, rhubarb and chutney accepted.
Section 6 is dedicated to honey produced in 2013.
Section 7 is for vegetables, with entries accepted in potatoes, carrots, turnips, tomatoes and pumpkins.
Children under the age of 16 can also submit entries for best-dressed vegetable.
New to the bench show this year is a category for flowers, with entries accepted in sunflowers, mixed annual flowers, wild flowers, dried arrangements and pressed flowers.
The bench show opens at 12 noon Saturday in the Gifford Shop. Winners will be awarded ribbons.
The day starts with a Toonie pancake breakfast from 7-10 a.m. at the Brown Quonset.
The turkey shoot, which is safe for people of all ages, takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. next to the Gifford Shop. People will shoot at a paper target for the chance to win a turkey.
A vintage threshing demonstration takes place at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the west field.
An old-fashioned butter-making demonstration is at 11:30 a.m. at the General Store.
People can buy lunch from 12 noon to 2 p.m. The Summerview Ladies Club is preparing an old-fashioned lunch including ham or roast beef sandwiches, homemade cookies and an apple served in a paper bag.
There are old-fashioned children’s activities from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. at Ashfield School.
The Southern Alberta Working and Herding Dog Association will give a demonstration that includes dogs barrel racing and square dancing, at 2 p.m. on the lawn next to Ashvale school.
An old-fashioned ice cream-making demonstration is at 3:30 p.m. at Summerview Hall.
There will be a barbecue prime rib dinner at 6 p.m.
“We’re offering children’s options,” Berg said. “There will be some rates and options for kids.”
The dinner will be followed by an old-fashioned dance at 7:30 p.m. in Summerview Hall with music by the Alvin Berger Band.
“We understand it’s going to be slow growth,” Berg said. “We’re not expecting it be jam-packed this year but we’re sure looking for more interest.”
For further details call Debbie Berg at 403-627-5530 or Betty Heppner at 403-627-5890.