It takes all kinds to make a good hand, and the same goes for a community. The Nakusp Fall Faire is a great example of this.
Last year, my mom took me to the fair in an attempt to get me outside for more than five minutes at a time. The only thing I remember was being painfully bored, seeing nothing in the blankets and vegetables other than blankets and vegetables.
“Why should I be here, when I could be stabbing trolls, or ramping cars off other cars?” I thought to myself. The virtual world of my video games is a much more exciting place than the real one, if a bit of a slave to convention – trolls have been a stabbing target since at least 1980. But I digress. My point is that I was incredibly bored, and in no position to judge the importance of such an event.
A community stands to benefit very much from a celebration of its culture. As much as that sounds like a smarmy endorsement of the event, it’s not. At least I think it’s not. A few times I’ve been to places that were very much like Nakusp, but dead. Stores were closed, the streets were empty, and the whole thing felt like an old western village just waiting for Clint Eastwood to walk into town.
I wasn’t caught in any exciting gunfights, but the whole image was depressing nonetheless.
Nothing is more sad than a community that has stopped caring about itself, a shell devoid of personality or life. There are many reasons this could happen, from a lacklustre economy, to bad location, to infestation of giant nuclear ants. One of those reasons is a lack of individuals caring for the community. Let me give you an example: If your town is in trouble, but you don’t know anyone there, why do you care? If, say, your local record store is shutting down, who cares? You already go out of town to shop anyway.
See what I mean? If nobody really gets involved in the community, no one is really going to care when things go south. That’s why I’ve realized how important stuff like the fair is. No matter how small, it’s a show of support, and that matters.
Getting to the fair itself, it was a great deal more interesting this time around, whether that was due to me being more receptive or an actual increase in attendance is not for me to say.
There was art, there was jewellery and there was a great deal of vegetables. One such vegetable was a giant specimen of a pumpkin, grown by a Mr. Herman Bergner, who was nowhere to be found. If I had grown a vegetable almost large enough to fit a small child inside, I would have been sitting in a chair right beside it, ready to soak up all the attention. Oh well, I suppose he is a more humble man than I.
Indeed, there were more than a few giant vegetables present, ranging from foot-long peas to face-sized sunflowers. I do have to wonder, if vegetables can get this big, what about ants?
Anyway, the venerable artist Amy Surina and her friends Trinity Miller and Morgan Leontowicz were there, drawing things that made my stick-figure A-Team look terrible.
Art of different kinds made a good showing, featuring quilts by Dawna Dinning and others, woodwork by Lloyd Dennis, and jewellery by Christine Meyer. Walter and Elizabeth Mitchell showcased their impressive (if somewhat frightening) collection of knives, and Cyra Frisk brought her charm and personality to the Special Olympics booth. Also, there were chocolates. Jennifer Cross’ chocolates, to be specific.
Speaking of food, there was lots of that, although I wasn’t able to sample any due to the fair’s ‘look, but don’t touch’ policy and my own financial short-sightedness. Some of the food, zucchinis to be specific, was put on wheels and sent down a ramp, in what I believe is called the zucchini races. As Spock himself would say, “Logical.” I was unable to catch the exciting conclusion, as my ride arrived and my atrophied limbs were starting to hurt from the exertion of standing up.
On my way out I noticed the booth of Mr. Peter Blundell was void of spectators, an uncommon occurrence. Apparently, he was out to lunch. Peter has accrued a surprising amount of fame in the business of identifying old things, and has actually appeared on television. My respect goes to him for making a name of himself that isn’t ‘the guy with old paintings.’
Overall, I had a far more interesting experience than I would have expected; with so many great people doing things locally, I don’t think Nakusp will become a ghost town for a long time.