Cow Ex responds to COVID-19 with “UN”FAIR-20

No drop-ins this year, only appointments

There won’t be a traditional Cowichan Exhibition Fair this year but there will certainly be an “UN”FAIR.

“It’s definitely a play on the COVID-19 this year, this “UN”FAIR-20,” explained Cowichan Exhibition executive director Shari Paterson. The show must go on!

After all the Cow-Ex has been a part of the community for 152 years and organizers aren’t going to let a worldwide pandemic stop the streak.

SEE RELATED: Cowichan Exhibition organizers have to be flexible with 2020 plans

“People kept asking ‘is there going to be a fair?’’ and everybody that asks that has a different interpretation of what that means,” Paterson said, noting that if you go for the rides, that’s the fair, if you go for the static displays inside Mellor Hall, that’s the fair, if you go to see the animals with your family, that’s the fair.

This year the fair still intends to bring the community together — while staying safely apart.

“The COVID-19 situation has been “UN”FAIR-20 for sure, but we still want to honour the tradition of the Cowichan Exhibition that has been a part of this community for the past 152 years.

While the midway won’t be there, and there will be no animals on display, there will still be things to see and do.

”There’s two different events taking place,” Paterson explained. “For people that want to enter their creations, then you have to sign up online There’s no fee. It’s free. That’s just our thank you for the support we’ve received from everybody during this most unusual year,” she added.

Registration runs until Aug. 31.

“‘Inspired Pop-Up’ and ‘Quilts in the Barn’ are perfect opportunities to show off projects completed during the COVID-19 lockdown when we all had unexpected time on our hands. Included are categories for everything grown in your veggie garden, scarecrows (wearing masks), beautiful bouquets from your flower bed, arts and crafts, including toilet paper sculptures, photographs, cookies, home canning and cannabis, plus all those colourful quilts you’ve been stitching,” Paterson explained. “We have added Dr. Bonnie Henry-inspired classes to honour the amazing job she is doing to keep everyone in B.C. safe.”

The “UN”FAIR-20 Inspired Pop-Up Show runs Sept. 6-7 while the “UN”FAIR-20’s Quilts in the Barn Show takes place Sept. 11-13. What’s more, a spectacular ‘drive in’ and Laser Light Show is being planned for Sept. 11-13 as well.

There are categories and classes for all ages but be sure to check the official rules for details as well as drop-off and pick-up dates. No prize money will be awarded this year – only bragging rights and UN-FAIR ribbons.

Patrons wanting to have a look at the entries can still attend Exhibition Park to do so. The catch is you have to register in advance for a set time. The entry fee is $5 a head.

“When you register you’ll have to select a time slot on the day you’d like to visit, so that we can regulate the number of people on site at all times,” Paterson said. “Keeping your ticket will earn you $5 off one General Admission for the 2021 Cowichan Exhibition.”

It’s not what it was last year but organizers are doing the best they can to keep people safe.

“We are committed to the safety of all guests, exhibitors and volunteers that chose to participate in the “UN”FAIR-20,” Paterson said. “We have implemented a series of regulations and policies as per the guidelines laid out by the Provincial Health Organization, that focus on physical distancing, health and hygiene and crowd control. Physical distancing measures will be in place, hand sanitizer will be readily available and and masks are recommended for attending these events.”

For more information or to book a visit see: or call 250-748-0822. Be sure to heck out the colouring contest sponsored by BC Fairs and BuyBC, for youth up to age 12. Colouring pages are online.

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