'Absolutely we're going ahead': Festivals and fairs making a return to the capital region

It’s been a while since we’ve been able to ride on a ferris wheel at the fair or introduce our kids to farm animals at a petting zoo, but come September, you’ll be able to get your fill of both. The 153rd annual Saanich Fall Fair is again a go.

“Absolutely, we’re going ahead,” said Catriona McHattie, the fair’s director. “We’re excited to have all of Victoria come out and support the fair as last year we could only do an online component of the fair.”

This year’s fair will be slightly scaled down, but will mostly resemble its former self.

“This year, there will be large displays of animals, but you won’t be seeing as many animals walking around the ring, being shown to judges,” said McHattie.

The midway will be back and this year’s theme is ‘Local for Locals,’ meaning local businesses and local performers on the main stage.

The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival is back on in August, as well, but it will be quite a bit different.

“This year, we’re not going to have the actual racing,” said Tony Joe, a member of the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society board.

While there will be no dragon boat races, there will be entertainment, food and the beer garden.

“Normally, what happens is, the next year event gets sort of organized and funded as a result of how the year goes and we didn’t have that last year,” said Joe. “So we have to plan ahead for next year and that’s really what we’re doing.”

Scaled back versions or not, the upcoming events are still an opportunity to get out and get a piece of that normal that we’ve been missing.

“I’ve heard things like, ‘It’s the most normal thing I’ve done in the last two years,’” said Kelly Kurta, executive director of the Greater Victoria Festival Society.

“People are excited.”

The executive director says that the region is once again coming alive.

The Luxton Fair will be back, as will CarnEvil at Galey Farms and – looking ahead into late fall – Light up the City and The Santa Claus Parade.

“We’re just thrilled with the way Victoria has come together as a community to make its way through this pandemic and ensure that festivals and fairs and everything can start happening in the city again,” said McHattie. “Everybody has done such a good job.”