The Aldergrove Fair is going back to its agricultural roots this summer by hosting sewing, gardening, and baking exhibitions both in-person next month – and virtually on July 17 and 18 – all paying tribute to one of the oldest farm communities in the Fraser Valley (Aldergrove Star files)

Aldergrove Fair goes back to its roots with agricultural exhibits, virtual shows in light of COVID-19

Tens of thousands drawn annually to Aldergrove’s fairgrounds in summer now directed to new web portal

Organizers of the Aldergrove Fair plan to bring this year’s attendees back in time to the origins of the 108-year-old festival, which first began as a lively competition between farmers.

The weekend-long festival planned next month for July 17 and 18, will largely be a virtual gathering, said president Robin McIntosh.

“We recognize that COVID-19 restrictions for large gatherings will almost certainly still be in place that day,” he explained.

“So we’ve put together a socially-distant plan to maximize the fun.”

For that, Abbotsford-based fair sponsor iContext Internet Services has created a website where people can log on to participate in fair events.

The 109th Fair, with a 2020 theme of “Be Kind, Have Fun, Be Safe,” will celebrate one of the oldest farm communities of the Fraser Valley similar to the first fair in 1912, when horse, poultry, dairy, produce, flowers, and needlecraft projects were entered by Aldergrove residents.

READ MORE: Aldergrove Fair numbers skyrocket into the thousands

No in-person concerts, shows, or vendors will be set up along Aldergrove Athletic Park fields.

Instead, Aldergrove residents of any age are invited to exhibit their baked goods, sewing, and crafts in its prize-winning displays at the Aldergrove Resource Centre, at 27030A Fraser Hwy.

Additionally, a gardening contest will take place at Aldergrove’s community gardens located inside of the athletic park at 26845 27th Ave.

One entry will be chosen as winner from each applicable category, which this year includes adult- and youth-entered eggs, baking, canning, crafts, and sewing.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, gardening and other home-stead activities have seen a local resurgence.

What better time then, for the fair to pay tribute to its agricultural roots?

The Aldergrove Fair event schedule also includes a COVID-19 photography contest where up to six photo submissions can be entered on the new website before July 10.

RELATED: Fair photo contest winners showcase the ‘best of Aldergrove’

Events that will be aired live on the website will include opening ceremonies, with words spoken from dignitaries including local First Nations.

As well, judging and awards ceremonies and entertainment acts will be virtual for people to enjoy.

The website will also host pre-recorded fair presentations, including fascinating stories of history from long-time Aldergrove residents, farm tours with prominent local farmers, and local showcases and entertainment.

People can register at virtual.aldergrovefair.ca view the full fair schedule once it becomes available.

“We are really excited to use the new website that Rob Wilson of iContext is developing for us,” McIntosh reiterated.

“Pre-Fair events and activities will be live on the site from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 18.”

READ MORE: Big name concerts forever change the landscape of the Aldergrove Fair

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