Dressed in buckskin jacket and headband, Qwelsim offers a piece of smoked salmon, taken from his display on Salmon Fishing at the Fraser Valley Regional Heritage Fair.
His classmates in Grade 4 at Dormick Park Elementary know Qwelsim (his name in the traditional Halq’eméylem language) better as Andrew Williams-Turner, but he was transformed for his project at the 16th annual fair on Wednesday and Thursday.
So, too, was Josh Appenheimer, with a loaned Abbotsford Police Department uniform shirt and a pair of reflective aviator sunglasses, for the Grade 5 Bradner Elementary student’s project about the Abbotsford Police. Appenheimer was a provincial finalist during last year’s heritage fair.
The Heritage Fair’s corner of Tradex was bustling with 147 kids demonstrating their 140 heritage projects (some paired up for the competition). They dressed in traditional Mennonite garb, Paul Henderson’s Team Canada hockey jersey or whatever uniform best illustrated their projects.
At total of 70 people, including city councillors and school trustees were judges, having informative chats with the kids. Each judge gave marks to between five and seven projects, with each project marked by three judges.
Organizer Cindy Rowell explained the MSA Museum Society puts on the annual Fraser Valley Regional Heritage Fair. Schools across the region held earlier fairs, with more than 800 students participating and the top projects advanding the regional final. They came from Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Hope, Langley and Maple Ridge.
This year, the provincials will be held in Abbotsford for the first time on the Canada Day long weekend, June 29 to July 3, staged by the B.C. Heritage Fairs Society.
Rowell said she attended provincials last year in Victoria, and was impressed by the event.
“It’s so educational for them,” she said. “They do outstanding work on projects that they are interested in.”
She said the kids also get public speaking confidence from the competition.
“Teachers who do it (the competition) realize the value in it.”
There was a lot of recognition to go around – there were 20 category awards, two memorial awards and five provincial awards. The five top projects will be chosen to move on to provincial competition, and these are still being decided upon.