My association with the Bearspaw and District Fair started in its early years when it was held in Rudolf's Arena on what is known as Twelve Mile Coulee Road. I remember there was some Domestic Arts, lots of livestock, and shavings on a dirt floor. My real work started in 1982, when I assumed responsibility for the concession after the fair moved to the original Cochrane Arena up by the high school. I inherited all of the information from Lorna Harrington, which was a good thing, as my experience running a concession was nil! We were allowed to use the arena's kitchen and served the usual hamburgers, hot dogs, snack food, pop, coffee and, of course, lots of pie! The burgers were later replace with beef in a bun. I bakes multiple loaves of sourdough bread, cinnamon rolls, carrot cake, chocolate cake, and between my mother, Ruth Hunt, and myself, about 20 pies. Other members of our group and the Women's Institute also made pies. We always had 40 plus, and one year we had 57! All were donated and we always sold out. One of the best sales pitches we had was selling cups of coffee for 25 cents. We still made money, especially when customers in disbelief of the price, gave us 50 cents or a dollar and said "keep the change!" My helpers were my daughters, Jackie and Heather, my mom, and Deb Scott, my niece. At the end of the log day, my husband Greg arrived in rescue mode, and started counting and packaging up leftovers and helped to clean up the mess. We always left that kitchen in better shape than we found it in!
In later years, we had a few 'hitches'. but we persevered. Caterers leased the kitchen and we were denied access, so we held our concession in the concourse! It still worked, in spite of extension cords, hot plates, coolers, water jugs, etc. strewn about. Then the Calgary Health Region Inspector clamped down on us, and were told we couldn't sell our pieces of pie and baking! This invoked the ire of community! An unknown person found paper and pen, and made up a quick petition. At the end of the day, we had 239 signatures! We still have that petition. This was the near end of the fair having its own concession, and we had food trucks come in instead.
My family's association with the fair continued for years with set-up, clean-up, help during judging, helping to organize the appreciation supper, etc. I am still volunteering (at a more leisurely pace!) at our Old Tyme Bench Exhibition being held in a tent, with shavings on the floor!
Author: Linda Sanden