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Bearspaw fair showcases local creativity

The creative skills of hundreds of Cochrane and Rocky View County residents will be on display Aug. 17 and 18, at the Bearspaw Old Tyme Country Fair held at the Cochrane Agricultural Society Grounds.

Now in its 51st year, the fair offers a bench show that provides local artisans the chance to showcase their talents as builders, growers, woodworkers and craftspeople.

According to John Piera, fair secretary, the event “helps build the social fabric of society,” while allowing residents to appreciate the creative skills of their neighbours and colleagues. He said last year’s show boasted more than 500 entrants.

“The big motivation to come out, for me, would be to find out what’s happening in your community, from a grassroots level,” he said. “You’ll find out what your neighbours are able to make or produce, and you’ll find out what talents they have, whether it’s photography, making beer or anything else.”

This year’s theme will be “bears and berries,” Piera said, adding the show will feature several categories, including horticulture, domestic art, fine arts, hobbies and crafts, and photography, among others.

“Anyone who [submits] an entry with that theme in mind is eligible for the prize for their category,” he said. “A lot of the categories are sponsored, and the person who wins in that category will receive a prize. We actually recruit judges, and they have to be qualified in the area they’re going to judge.”

Registration takes place Aug. 17, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., at the event. Judging will take place that afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m.

In addition to the bench show, the event will include a silent auction and entertainment provided by the Calgary Fiddlers, who will perform Aug. 18 at 12:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.

For children in attendance, attractions will include a petting zoo, treasure hunt, egg-tossing competition and zucchini races.

As the Bearspaw Old Tyme Country Fair is run in conjunction with the annual Cochrane Fair, Piera said he expects a high turnout.

“People are going to come out for the rides and rodeo, and a lot of those people will come out to the tent where we have our exhibit,” he said. “It’s free, so pretty much everyone who comes out to that will probably wander through our tent.”

Julie Trites, president of the Bearspaw and District Community Fair Association, said the fair is a community tradition that continues to bring urban and rural residents together.

“Cochrane is changing so fast,” she said. “When I first moved here, one of the comments I got from a business I was visiting in Cochrane said, ‘It’s just not like the old days – Cochrane is changing.’

“It’s grown very fast and it’s important the urbanites realize how important the rural people are, and that the rural people know that having that business there and supporting it is important, too.”

For more information or to pre-register as an entrant for the bench show, visit


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