The Saanich Fair is the longest continuous running agricultural fair in Western Canada. With its 149th edition in just a couple of days. What started out as a humble small town fair created by 10 men in the 1860’s has grown into a local tradition. Drawing huge crowds of people from all over lower Vancouver Island every year. The Saanich Fair is held on Labour Day long weekend and for many marks the end of summer and the start of a new school year.
I know going to an “agriculture” fair sounds pretty lame right? It’s just going to be a bunch of smelling animals and vegetables. Well that isn’t wrong it is far from the truth. The Saanich Fair has something to offer everyone. Of course a huge favorite for everyone, especially the kids, is the midway. Every year I go they always seem to have new, cooler ride that they didn’t have before. But of course they always have everyone’s favorites. The Zipper, Himalaya, Ring of Fire, Ferris Wheel to only name a few. And of course the best part of the midway… the mini donuts!
Aside from the midway, which is always a huge draw, there are lots of food vendors to fill any craving you might have. There are the regular hamburgers and hot dogs, some fancy and some not, fries and onion rings. And would it be Canada if there wasn’t at least one place where you could get poutine? But there are also quite a few heritage societies that will be cooking up some awesome food! Including German, Hungarian and Jewish to name a few. And if you’ve never had one you’ve got to try a langos, pronounced langosh. A delicious deep fried Hungarian flatbread, also known as a beaver tail. You can dress it with garlic or cinnamon sugar, but I definitely recommend the cinnamon sugar!
There will also be a lot of different vendors that you shouldn’t miss out on. There will be everything from candied nuts, jewelry, handcrafted art, all the way up to hot tubs. And of course there will be farmers selling fresh and delicious fruit and vegetables. And there are always soft and warm hand knit gloves, scarfs and hats, from lovely alpaca wool.
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Yes there will be lots of animals! So if you have a strong phobia of any farm animals this is maybe not the fair for you, unless you stick to the midway. But chances are you don’t, which means getting to see lots of cute, well cared for livestock. If you can think of an animal domesticated by humans it will probably be there.
The horse show is a big one, drawing competitors from all over the lower island. Horses, hay, grain and focused young ladies will fill the barns. Eager to prove themselves in the show ring. There will be english riders, western riders, drivers and vaulters. And if the big horses scare you a bit there will even be miniature horses.
Beef and dairy cattle, sheep, donkeys, goats, pigs, alpacas and lamas. And not too be left out out, the fowl. Rows on rows of geese and ducks, and of course more breeds of chickens then you ever thought existed. And how could we forget the cute, cuddly little bunnies?
You can meet, and pet all these animals at their enclosures. You can also watch them being shown shown and judged and learn more about them and how they are raised. A great experience for kids of all ages, yes even the 20+ year old kids!
Entertainment to Delight
The Saanich Fair always has amazing entertainment and this year is no exception. At the main stage there is a lot happening during the three days! There will be Highland dancing, and numerous food eating contests you can watch, or even enter! And lots of music to party to. This year the headlining bands are Jesse Roper, a local rock and roll sensation, and Tropper. Jesse Roper will be playing Saturday night from 8-10pm with Tropper playing on Sunday night from 8:30-10pm.
If you do plan on heading out an enjoying the fair (which I highly recommend you do) plan your trip carefully. I think I’ve already mentioned it but the Sannich Fair is extremely popular and the traffic backs up a long way with people trying to get into park. It’s also a good idea to get there early if you don’t want to have park way out in the fields.
The Saanich Fairgrounds
1528 Stellys X Rd
September 3-5, 2016
Saturday & Sunday: 8am – 9pm
Monday: 8am – 6pm
Adults: $13 ($12 on Monday)
Youth (7-13): $8 ($7 on Monday)
Seniors (65+): $8 ($7 on Monday)
Children (6 and under): Free
Saturday & Sunday: $40