Gardening runs in the family

Rosalee Bieksa, 11, with her grandparents Lea and John Humphries in the Peachland garden started by Bieksa's great grandmother Stella Humphries.

It has been 100 years since the first Peachland Fall Fair and while the event maintains the atmosphere of an old-fashioned country fair, it is growing and evolving.

The 2019 Peachland Fall Fair is open Saturday from 1:30 to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Peachland Community Centre.

The first Peachland Fall Fair and Flower Show took place Oct. 9, 1919, at the Orange Hall.

At the time, the fruit-packing plant was located right on Okanagan Lake. Packed fruit became a popular competition with local packing houses and individual farmers competing vigorously against one another for top spot.

While the fair was suspended for three years during the Second World War, the Peachland Fall Fair has been a growing concern since with some 1,800 entries last year.

These days, people are still competing for bragging rights for the tastiest peach pie or the heaviest pumpkin; however, new categories include digital photography using a cellphone.

The next generation of fall fair competitors includes Rosalee Bieksa, 11, a fourth-generation gardener who grows on the property her great grandmother Stella Humphries, started gardening on 30 years ago.

Over the years, Stella contributed many prize-winning flowers and produce entries to the Peachland Fall Fair.

Her love of gardening was instilled in her son, John, a master gardener who has passed his knowledge and love of the land onto his daughters and now his grandchildren.

The property is organic and no sprays, pesticides or herbicides have ever been used.

For five months of the year, John’s wife, three daughters and seven grandchildren eat organic food produced from the garden.

John‘s garden includes vegetables, currants, strawberries, apples, pears, walnuts and hazelnuts.

“Gardening is so important and relaxing,” said John.

He took great delight when Rosalee expressed interest in gardening.

She has had her own plot in his garden for the past three years, growing radishes, carrots, spinach and cucumbers.

“I’m glad somebody’s going to carry on the tradition when I’m gone,” he said.

Rosalee said she likes gardening because she can start with something as small as a little seed and it can grow into something big and important.

“I like getting my own food from the garden,” she added.

Her vegetables won at the 2018 Peachland Fall Fair.

Along with entering vegetables in this year’s fall fair, Rosalee will be submitting art work, short stories and knitting.

British Columbia residents are invited to enter their projects they have grown or made themselves, including baking and preserves, crafts and sewing, flowers and vegetables, photography and original art.

There are three age categories for youth up to 17 years old.

Youth are encouraged to enter their summer and school projects as well as their flowers, vegetables and baking.

Exhibitor tags cost 50 cents per item entered and 25 cents for junior categories.

For more information, including a complete list of categories, go online to peachlandfallfair.ca.

Fall fair awards medallion

Rosalee Bieksa, 11, finally received her junior Okanagan Cup medallion from the 2018 Peachland Fall Fair for her artwork of featuring Ogopogo swimming in Okanagan Lake.?

The Okanagan Cup award was initiated in 2018 to the participant with whose Peachland Fall Fair entry best exemplifies the Okanagan. The winning entry could be in any category.

The fall fair committee decided to add a junior Okanagan Cup award for youth up to 17 years , but the medallion did not arrive in time for the award ceremony.

Bieksa’s painting includes the birds she says her baby sister likes to chase which makes her family laugh, the mountains on which she has adventures and the magical Ogopogo that she tries to spot every time she’s in Okanagan Lake.

For Bieksa, painting the lake and the mountains is representing the prettiest part of the Okanagan.

Bieksa is getting her entries ready for the 2019 Peachland Fall Fair, which takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Peachland Community Centre.

B.C. residents are invited to enter their projects including baking and preserves, crafts and sewing, flowers and vegetable, photography and original art.

There are three categories for youth up to 17 years old.

Young people are encouraged to enter their summer and school projects as well as flowers and vegetables they have grown or baking they have created.

For more information, go online to peachlandfallfair.ca