Well the Fall Fair has come and gone once again.
This was a good thing – it almost didn’t happen. In fact due to initial low volunteer response it wouldn’t have happened but the River Valley Community Church congregation stepped up and thanks to them the decision was to go ahead with it again this year. So Thank You to Jason and Kelly McIver, The volunteers of the Fall Fair, the Fall Fair Society and especially the volunteers from the River Valley Community Church.
You can see the videos we produced for it and about it below followed by some commentary. This is a playlist with 6 videos in it …
Each year it appears to shrink a little more and catch a few more gripes. This has been happening each year in the decade I’ve been here.
This year it was in the 3rd weekend of August this year which left some wondering if it should still be called a Fall Fair …
The number visitors on Saturday night was not as large as many would like. Why?
Some said it was because the Fly-In was on the same weekend and had sucked some of the potential visitors away for a free movie under the stars.
Some wondered if the weather had something to do with it? (It had rained every day but Saturday and maybe some felt it would be a rainy evening – who knows)
Some griped about promotion, or the lack of it. They put up posters here in Grand Forks and Greenwood and, I’d assume, in Christina Lake and parts further as well.
Some of us wonder if this is part of a larger ongoing problem with society in general. When the Fall Fair first happened the world was a very different place. No Internet, Cable TV, Radio. A lot more agriculture going on locally. The fair was one of those things where the community at large could come together and have a shared experience and show off their wares and creations. Things like this are community building exercises.
Nowadays if you want to put on something that draws people you have be crafty and lucky because your competition has millions of dollars and lots of talent. From Facebook to YouTube. Netflix, Hulu, Crackle – all places to watch professionally made movies and television online. Or ‘old-fashioned’ Cable TV with hundreds of channels and TV On-Demand. And then there are those who pursue gaming online … to some out there a fall fair might seem kind of boring and amateurish in comparison to all these other choices.
This is a symptom of a larger set of changes to how we define community and communication. A lot of things like the Fall Fair rely on volunteers. Volunteer time and effort. The more closely a person feels part of a community the more likely they will be to consider helping out by giving of their time and skills. Conversely, the less connected one feels to their local geographic space the less they will feel the community they are part of resides where they happen to live. More and more people spend larger amounts of time online in social networking and gaming communities. They not only do they spend more time there but they invest more of themselves in it. One result is increasingly their social needs get satisfied online as well.
Think of it this way: The Fall Fair used to be one of their best friends but the the Web came along and now they have a new best friend.
That goes for many of the volunteer organizations around here as well. Volunteers might be drying up because their sense of community is changing.