We stand to lose a Fair bit
What would the reaction in Uxbridge be if it were announced that there would be no Uxbridge Fall Fair in September? Would there be outcry, dismay and disappointment, or would people just shrug their shoulders and say “who cares?”
We’re willing to bet that the former would occur, that there would be real sadness if this mainstay of Uxbridge life, this 155 year-old tradition, were to die. But die it may if no one cares enough to take it on.
We’re being a bit alarmist here, but with just cause. The Cosmos had a sit-down with Uxbridge Fall Fair manager Dave Dickie and president Bev Latva not long ago, and what we learned during our chat scared us. Our Fall Fair really is on the endangered species list, and it’s not, believe or not, because of a lack of money to run it. It’s due to a lack of people. The Fair Board is desperate for people to join and learn, not just for Fair weekend, but for the entire year.
Says Dave, “A succession plan is a real concern. What do we do when us, or [Rick and Nancy] the Hannahs, aren’t able to do it all anymore? What happens then?”
Both Bev and Dave are also convinced that many people in Uxbridge have the misconception that the Fall Fair is put on by the Corporation of the Township of Uxbridge. It’s not. It’s a separate entity, entirely unto itself, and run as such.
The cost of staging each Fair is about $130,000. The Board that manages the event is not a Committee of Council and relies heavily on sponsorship for funding.
But as mentioned earlier, it’s not so much the money the Fair needs as it is the bodies to do the work. The Fair board currently consists of 18 directors and four executive. Dave says that board members are constantly overlapping jobs, which, in his words, is “ok, but I tell you, it leads to burn out, and that’s where we are now.”
Dave is quick to note that future Fair volunteers don’t have to have a background in fair or event planning, they just need to be able to think, to have ideas and to stick with it. As he said, many of the current volunteers have been putting on the Fall Fair for longer than many of us have lived here.
The Fair does get much-appreciated help through the partnerships its forming with other local organizations. The Bonner Boys do the Demolition Derby. The Uxbridge Horsemen’s Association oversees the horse activities. This takes a bit of the workload off the board, but it still wants people who are computer and social media savvy, people who are skilled at writing grants, people who are willing to commit the time and effort. The time commitment isn’t huge – one meeting a month, and then a pretty full week leading up to and including Fair weekend.
This year’s fair, with the theme “Farm Boots and Country Roots,” will be Sept. 6 – 8. On Thursday, June 27, Boston Pizza is hosting an Uxbridge Fair Celebrity Server day. Fair Board members will be there – while they’re bringing you your meal, ask them some questions about volunteering with the Fair. If you can help before, during or after the Fair, please contact Bev at email@example.com
It just won’t be fair if Uxbridge loses its Fall Fair. Give it a Fair chance – you’ll be doing the future of fall fairs a big favour.