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Fall fair an ingrained part of Wellesley’s culture

Steeped in tradition, the Wellesley North Easthope Fall Fair is back next week.

The Wellesley mainstay, which is now in its 163rd year, is one of just three fall fairs still operating in the region.

Karen Pilecki, president of the planning committee,  says she believes the magic of a fall fair is still captured in Wellesley every year, and that is what keeps bringing people out to enjoy it.

“I think it is a love of small town, a love of rural, a love of our roots because it really has to do with the people who join the fair board and the agricultural society that keeps it going,” she said. “The amount of effort they put in and the way we entice others to join in and keep it going, and it is all volunteer-based – we could always use more volunteers – and we find the more people that are moving into the Wellesley area from urban centres, and really buy into the fair, they realize what a different place it is to live.”

This year’s fair theme is We Are Full Of Beans, to honour the international year of the pulses in agriculture. There are plenty of activities at this year’s two-day event that celebrate beans, legumes and peas for both the kids and adults.

“This year, we actually have a professional storyteller coming in on the Wednesday for two sittings. He is with the Baden Storytellers Guild and he is going to be telling the story of Jack and the Beanstalk,” she said, adding the Wellesley Arena will be decorated in the theme. “The entry display is something that I put together and it is actually going to be Jack’s mom’s kitchen, and for the story telling, the kids will actually be going up into the display. We have a nice big beanstalk that will go up to the ceiling in the arena and the cow that Jack traded for the beans. It should turn out to be quite neat.”

There are also bean-themed categories in the exhibits, with recipes and crafts showing the versatility of pulses. There are also games that involve all things bean.

Pilecki says one of the biggest draws for the fair is the dessert auction on the Tuesday evening.

“We still do it after years and years and years,” she said. “We auction off the first place and second place chocolate cakes, the first and second place pecan pies and the first place butter tarts. It is just so much fun.”

Another crowd pleaser, according to Pilecki, is Wednesday’s parade.

“People love to see that. We have a tractor club that comes through with 30 or 40 antique tractors,” she said, adding that there is plenty else to do on parade day. “We have the pet show, the baby show, and the fireworks at night are definitely popular, along with the midway. We have Townsend Amusements come in with rides, games and food.”

Other annual delights for the crowds are the Wellesley Idol singing contest, the Fair Ambassador contest, all of the exhibits showing local work, and for Pilecki, it is about seeing people enjoy themselves.

“We can see the enjoyment that others are having in that, sharing in the fun and while it can be frustrating to pull it all together, the fair happens and you see all the smiling faces and that all of the families out,” she said. “To us, that is the icing on the cake.”

The fair runs on Sept. 13 and Sept. 14 in Wellesley. For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.wellesleynehfallfair.ca.

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