Contributed by Pauline Buck
Traditions are a great thing, and none are more enjoyable than the Mt. Lehman Country Fall Fair. Since 1986 this has been the place to be on one Saturday every Fall. This year was no exception. On September 21st, under warm and sunny skies, the corner of Mt. Lehman and Taylor Roads was its usual hive of activity as people arrived for the day-long event, eager to sample the Kiwanis pancake breakfast and get on to the activities.
Back to the Land was this year’s theme. Mt. Lehman Elementary School again opened its doors to host the many visitors and contributors and Mr. Abby Chan, the school’s new principal, participated in the Opening Ceremonies. Gordon Taylor, the Fair’s customary MC, also welcomed everyone and introduced Hon. Mike De Jong, MLA Abbotsford West and Minister of Finance, Henry Braun, Councilor, City of Abbotsford and Acting Mayor, and Chentel Weitschies, the young Mt. Lehman Ambassador who graciously wished everyone a fun-filled day. New to the podium this year was Chief Alice McKay, Chief of the Matsqui First Nations Band who brought greetings and welcomed everyone to the event.
As the day progressed, the community’s time-honoured farming roots were emphasized by the abundance of local produce for sale at The Farmer’s Market and by the exhibits of prize winning preserves and amazing home-grown veggies. (How big was that zucchini again?) The youngsters added an element of fun with their whole new take on Mr. Potato Head, winning prizes for the best decorated potatoes – one that was dressed like Rapunzel and one that looked like a sheep! Very cool.
Visitors were also given the opportunity to see and participate in a hands-on demonstration of modern milking methods. A representative from the BC Dairy Industry invited children to test the suction on the milking pump, then attached the cups to the cow’s udder and started the machine. Milk was instantly seen traveling through tubes to the container.
Craft Fair tables and booths, both inside and outside the school, were overflowing with beautiful quilts, knitted and woven garments, hand-made jewelry, enticing soaps and unique drift wood decorations, to name but a few of the wares created by members of the community. One table, however, was there for the last time. After being part of the Mt.Lehman Country Fall Fair for the past 20 years, Bill & Betty Cholodylo are retiring. Their hand-painted glassware and Christmas decorations will be missed.
There were games and rides for the kids, ongoing entertainment and all-day availability of tasty food and snacks culminating in the delicious chicken Bar-B-Q across the street at the Hall from 3:00 – 6:00, followed by a family dance.
Fair organizers offered special thanks to Paul Dadalt, who emceed the ongoing events throughout the day, all the young stage performers, and Sharon Taylor, the intrepid Fall Fair Committee Chairperson. The Fair was another great success and visitors look forward to coming again next year.
Four-year-old Nadia moves her cow in the farmyard themed “At the Races” game at the Mt. Lehman Fair. (John Morrow photo)