The theme for the fair this year is "In Simpler Times", harkening back to the first Pender Island Fall Fair in 1932, 85 years ago. The 1932 fair had a budget of $100 with 50 cents as the admission fee for a family. There were over 600 entries that year and prizes included 48 pounds of flour, a side of bacon and a gallon of paint. This was a time before Islands Trust, BC Ferries, before electricity, before Magic Lake, and before the multiple community groups and activities. What would that be like? Come out and see, or better yet, help us create it! Originally sponsored by the Farmers’ Institute and Women’ Institute, the focus was and has been to promote and support agriculture. In the past, the government provided grants and evaluators for this purpose. In recent years there have been no government grants, and instead of educating farmers the emphasis for ag fairs is primarily to educate the public. Recent fairs on Pender have been supported by many Island groups and businesses and have grown in scope to celebrate our diverse community, but the burden of the organizing has shifted from a community-wide Fall Fair committee of the Farmers Institute, to a Farmers Institute board organizing committee. This has stretched the board too thin, as the fair has grown, in size, scope and expense. The budget and the entries are greater, and the attendance is larger than in the early years of the Fair. The Fair still retains its rural atmosphere and will hopefully continue to be a good example of the community cooperation and enterprise first begun by our elders, with some significant changes to balance the workload. To put on the fair requires a lot of work and time, and it is quite possible that the fair will be dramatically scaled down if there aren't enough volunteers for the organizing committee. Community groups with specific interest in the various competitive exhibits are asked to provide a volunteer to go onto the organizing Fall Fair Committee. Already the Recycling Society has offered to help make the fair a zero-waste event, in addition to providing their role in recycling on the day of the fair, providing dishes for the barbecue, and providing convener, judge and prize money and assisting in setting up their section for the fair. We would like to hear from the food vendors soon so that this zero-waste effort can be successful. If you are interested in helping in any aspect of the fair, think of what would interest you and how much of a time commitment you can afford, then please contact Barb at 3819 or 3817 or firstname.lastname@example.org by March 31. Thank you.