By Michelle Mallette
After months of preparation, the big weekend is here – Grand Forks & District Fall Fair opens this Saturday with a parade and a two-day lineup of entertainment that will please all ages and tastes.
The parade leaves Selkirk College at 9:30 am, proceeding down 72nd Avenue, Kettle River Drive, 68th Avenue and up 19th Street to the Fairgrounds. Walkers can follow the parade to the fair gates! The entertainment starts right after the opening ceremonies, which ends with board member Dennis Thome offering original poetry. The stage is in the centre of the fairgrounds, with plenty of room for folding chairs and blankets.
“I have what I think will be a very fun lineup for the fair, from a local medication style of music to a really impressive band on Saturday night,” says Annette McArthur of One Degree Entertainment, who has arranged the non-stop entertainment offerings for the fair. McArthur is from Grand Forks and was the long-time festival manager for Cannafest (now Canada Rock Fest) before moving to Victoria. A long-time volunteer with the Fair, she has contributed remotely to fill up the schedule on both Saturday and Sunday.
First up after the opening ceremonies, “we have our can-can ladies, of course, Les Folles Jambettes – we can’t have a fair without them!” McArthur says with appreciation. Well-known magician Nathan Vogel, home from his studies in Vancouver, will wow the crowd with magic and other tricks. He’ll then be followed by another local performer, Kassi Dick, demonstrating her skill on the ukulele – “she’s amazing,” says McArthur. Next up is guitarist Jim Raho. “He’s another local; he does this really great meditation-style guitar, with other percussion instruments.” Students from Grand Forks Performing Arts School will present Girls’ Power, described as “tap, aerial hoop and hip-hop back to back, all performed by girls.” Then come The Cuthberts, the popular singing and guitar duo Gary and Laura Jean Cuthbert of Grand Forks. They play and sing a fun mix of country, rock and folk music, so be prepared to clap and sing along.
Children and families will be delighted to hear that the final afternoon band is Kelowna’s own Juno Award-winning The Oot n’ Oots. The popular rock/alternative band is made up of teen Ruthie Cipes, her dad Ez and uncles Ari, Gabe, and Matthew. Their show is all analogue, and is entertainment for all ages, playing music that draws on rock n’ roll’s long history to bring joy and laughter to the crowd.
Saturday evening’s featured performer is Jon Bos, playing from 8:30-11 p.m. and promising a night of rock-n-roll on the grass. “He’s classic rock, a good-time get up and dance kind of artist,” McArthur enthuses.
Fairgoers wanting a bite and a beverage while enjoying the entertainment will have lots of options. The Friends of the Library is again hosting the tearoom, offering drinks with three homebaked items for $7. The tea is 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday only in the Curling Rink lobby, accessible via the Exhibit Hall. Those seeking adult beverages will enjoy the saloon, open from 12 noon-10 p.m. on Saturday, and on both days, food trucks near the stage offer a variety of food and drink options.
Sunday’s entertainment begins with a performance by the Doukhobor Choir at 11:30 a.m., allowing time for those attending a morning service to get to the Fair. And wrapping up the show with a bang will be Darby Mills, former lead singer for the Headpins and most recently performing here at Canada Rock Fest. She and her band, Press Play, will offer a rocking good time with a playlist of the best music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Once the last notes are sung, stick around for the closing ceremonies and awards presentation for those who win big in the Exhibit Hall.
Grand Forks Fall Fair is at Dick Bartlett Park, behind the Recreation Centre, with the Exhibit Hall in the Curling Rink. Fair dates are this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3-4. Admission is $5-$10 for a day, with weekend passes and family discounts also available.