Aldergrove Fair Days are fast approaching – this weekend in fact, and this year’s event will be like none held during the fair’s 100-plus year existence.
This year’s 109th annual Aldergrove Fair Days will take place at MacInnes Farms in a “drive-up” event style, Karen Long described.
COVID-19 restrictions has meant the traditional fair set-up, known to most, won’t be seen again this year, but Long, executive director of the Aldergrove Festival Days Society, who has been involved with the local fair since the mid-1990s, said fair-goers won’t be disappointed.
“We’ve turned the farm into a fairground, and it’s actually kind of cool… you’re coming to visit a working farm,” she detailed.
“So as you drive-up there will be a couple of intriguing things that you’ll be passing by [but] we can’t give away all the fun details.”
The fair, at 25160 72nd Ave., is set up in five stations, plus a unique bonus stop, where families by the car load will drive-through and stop, and take in each of the exhibits.
Entrance to the fair is free, but families must register for their tickets online ahead of the event days, Aug. 28 and 29, which begin at 10 a.m.
Tickets are reserved by the car-load. There are 30 time slots available for every 30 minute period, so organizers can monitor the number of people on the fairgrounds.
“About 850 [vehicles] is our sellout and we’re well on our way to that,” Long said.
Fair-goers will enter the fairgrounds from 252 Street off of 72nd Avenue, where they will be met with live entertainment, a food vendor and for-sale items from MacInnes Farms.
“While they’re waiting they get to kind of look around and check out the farm,” Long explained.
Afterwards families will load-up into their vehicles again and journey through the five fair attractions. The first stop is International Movie Services, which supplies the movie industry with military vehicles and uniforms.
“So they’re going to have an array from their military museum,” Long said, adding a military fighter plane replica from the Canadian Museum of Flight will also be one of the many things on display.
Families are encouraged to step out of the vehicles at each station and speak with the volunteers on-site about the attractions.
Next stop, the tractor pull.
The antique tractors from the 1940s and ‘50s are fully operational, Long assured. The Valley Small Engine Club will also have a display.
“There’s going to be some amazing photo opportunities throughout the whole fair… the kids can sit on a tractor and we have lots of other little cool photo-ops that can be used as well,” she said.
In keeping with the pioneer, antique theme, the third stop is the threshing. MacInnes recently opened Locality Brewing on the farm, the same place their grow their barely.
“Then there’s also a Hammer Mill grinder, so Langley Environmental Partners [Society] will be on site… and they’re going to grind it into flour… and then it’s going to be handed out to the visitors so they can actually take home with them some freshly ground flour,” Long explained.
Groups will then take their bagged flour to the Aldor Acres attraction, the next stop.
At Aldor Acres, which Long says is always a “huge hit,” families can enjoy a petting zoo set-up on MacInnes Farms, and take in the prized exhibits, canning, baking, gardening, and vegetables and fruits that locals have submitted for prize ribbons.
The last stop will be the ever-popular fast draw.
“If you can imagine, the Old West, they’re going to be doing some shooting demonstrations and they’ll have someone there explaining what’s going on,” Long said.
More than just the attractions, there will be lots to take in. Langley-based Circus Lab will be performing high-wire demonstration and juggling acts.
“We have a lot of activities, different activities, for hopefully all the families,” Long said.
But that’s not all. What Long calls “the pièce de résistance” is a bonus attraction. As guests exit through the fairgrounds they’ll make their way through a movie set.
MacInnes Farms is the filming location for When Calls the Heart, a Hallmark family-drama that once starred Lori Loughlin.
“So as you can see, it’s just a little bit more than a drive-through event,” Long noted.
The fair is a product of at least 10 local organizations coming together, Long said, and several volunteers.
“For me the Aldergrove Fair is like going home,” she reflected. “I just keep doing it because of the people you work with and the connection you make with the community.”
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