Richmond annual Country Fair shuttered due to COVID-19

The hay rides, massive garage sales, and displays from South Arm United Church’s annual fair will not be returning in September.

Every year, the fair has always been held on the third Saturday in September for the past six decades, but this year will be the first time the church and the grounds will be void of people and laughter.

Victoria Warfield, fundraising chair at South Arm United Church, said the decision to cancel the fair was made during a virtual meeting in order to protect the health and safety of the community.

“Everyone usually works through the summer for (the fair), but right now we can’t even get into the building,” said Warfield, adding that the church is still shut down because it’s in phase one of the BC Restart phase until mid-July.

“Last year we had a good year which was wonderful and it’s just what it is and since it’s been going on for so long it’s just going to break my heart not to see it happening in September.”

The garage sale, one of the major parts of the fair, often has community members donating items from their spring cleanout.

But because the fair is cancelled, the church is also no longer able to accept donations from community members due to safety and capacity reasons.

Although feeling a bit dejected, Warfield said they are beginning to plan “pop up” bake sales or jams and preserves sales instead this year.

Virtual pop-up sales of South Arm pickles and fruit pies are also on the list of events the church is hoping to get running during the harvest season with dates yet to be set.

 “I’m thankful to the bakers and jam makers for putting on something to bring a bit of the fair to the community during this time.”

Warfield told the Richmond News that they are also looking into doing an online silent auction, another major feature of the fair, depending on how many people would participate in it.

“There are a lot of people struggling like we are and there may be people, such as artists, who would still like to get their name out there and be known,” she said.

“We’re looking at being able to come back next year with the fair somewhat re-imagined … it’s a silver-lining to look forward to.”

© Richmond News