The building at 1425 Main Street houses both the Smithers Art Gallery and Bulkley Valley Museum. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Art Gallery and Museum collaborate on historical Fall Fair exhibiton

The collaboration was born out of a desire to delve into the history of the fair.

The Fall Fair no longer has a “Fat-Man’s Race” but if you’re now wondering about just what that was, this is the exhibit for you.

A special collaboration celebrating a century of Fall Fairs is coming to the Art Gallery and BV Museum this month.

In celebration of the Fall Fair’s 100th anniversary, the two organizations are collaborating on an exhibition that celebrates the occasion.

Art Gallery Manager Nicole Chernish said that both organizations are really excited, as it’s not often they get to team up on projects, despite sharing a building.

The Art Gallery is taking submissions for display with the only parameter being that the submission has to relate to their overall experience with the Fall Fair.

“We wanted to celebrate the fair and the Bulkley Valley so we put out a call for artists to get involved so anyone in the community can put in a piece of art that’s related somehow to their experience … whether it’s agriculture or a ride or cotton candy or ice cream or whatever it is that makes you excited about the fair,” said Chernish.

Similarly, the museum has put a call out to locals — as well as dug through their own archives — to dig up as many photos as they can of historical fairs of years past.

“A huge number of community members have given us photos and we’ve now printed those all out in varying sizes … and we’re going to create a collage and put those photos all around both the Art Gallery and the museum,” said Eric Holdijk, assistant curator with the museum.

The two say that the collaboration was born out of a desire to delve into the history of the fair, noting that it’s very interesting from a historical perspective due to the fact that it’s remained relatively static over the years.

“The fact is that it hasn’t changed that much and that’s a good thing because it’s like this lynchpin event that you have every year,” said Holdijk.

The show will also feature an interactive exhibit, with four iPads located throughout the show that contain interviews with ten separate people, all who have been to multiple fairs over the years.

The interviews will centre around their memories of the fair and how it has changed over the years.

“They will be available for people who come to the exhibit to listen to people’s favorite memories and maybe their hopes and dreams for the fair going into the future,” said Holdijk.

And if you’re feeling thirsty, the exhibit features a scavenger hunt, with an (adult) reward of a coupon for a 1919-priced drink from Smithers Brewing Company.

The exhibit itself will open on August 13, with an “official” opening right after the Fall Fair Parade, with activities — such as a watermelon-eating contest featuring some notable Smithers locals — planned for the courtyard as well.

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