An entry in the 2019 Cobble Hill Fair. Exhibits will be displayed and enjoyed online in 2020. (Citizen file)

Cobble Hill Fair going ‘virtual’ this year

Organizers think outside the box to plan around COVID-19

Organizers of the Cobble Hill Fair have found a way to keep their long-running event alive, despite restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual fair, which celebrates its 111th year in 2020, typically attracts 5-6,000 people on the one day, and with gatherings currently limited to 50 or fewer, that’s simply not possible. Rather than cancel the fair outright, the Shawnigan Cobble Hill Farmers Institute and Agricultural Society has opted to take the exhibition portion of the event online this year.

“We’re excited about the prospect of not folding our tent and going away, but having a virtual fair that people can participate in from a distance and see the fruits of other people’s labours,” Farmers Institute secretary Gerry Giles said.

Participants in the “virtual fair” can send in photos of their entries, where they can be seen by visitors. Entries will also be judged, with some special prizes awarded.

Organizers initially planned to cancel the fair entirely, but when word got out, a number of people expressed their disappointment, especially given that this could be a banner year for flower and vegetable gardens, given the amount of extra time many people are spending at home. That led the Farmers Institute to think outside the box and come up with the virtual fair.

“It’s new; it’s certainly different,” Giles commented. “It’s just far too long to have a fair not do anything for two years.”

Several similar events in B.C. and across Canada will be trying the same tactics, Giles noted.

“We’re pleased to say both BC Fairs and the Canadian Federation of Fairs and Exhibitions are following suit and there will be a number of virtual fairs across Canada this year,” she said.

The virtual fair hasn’t been advertised extensively yet, but lots of interest has already been expressed, Giles said. The catalogue should go online at cobblehillfair.ca in the first week of June. Entries will be accepted between Saturday, Aug. 1 and Tuesday, Aug. 18, after which they will be judged and displayed online. The theme of this year’s fair is “How Green Is Our Valley.”

CoronavirusFall fair

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mary Lowther column: Growing out your own seeds

Some crops like tomatoes don’t cross pollinate well

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Buyers across the province will soon be able to pick up a… Continue reading

Minivan driver’s speed a factor in fatal 2018 Malahat crash

Driver was travelling at 101 km/h in a construction zone

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read