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St. Mark’s 42nd Fair in Qualicum Beach is full of tradition

Laura Filgate from Nanaimo with some of her kiln-formed glassworks at a previous St. Mark’s Fair. - NEWS FILE PHOTO
Laura Filgate from Nanaimo with some of her kiln-formed glassworks at a previous St. Mark’s Fair.
— image credit: NEWS FILE PHOTO

After 41 years, Qualicum Beach's big St. Mark's Fair continues to make fine adjustments with the times, but focuses on the traditional fair aspects that keep people coming back.

Things get started Saturday, July 26 with the traditional pancake breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and there will be plenty of food available all day with entertainment, burgers and hot dogs at both the Legion and curling club.

There will also be an abundance of food trucks, specialty foods and vendors throughout the fair and around downtown as the event continues to spread with other complimentary art and market events, pointed out publicity chair Carol Wilke.

"It is a massive undertaking with a huge group of volunteers, including everyone from the church," Wilke said.

She said people start working in April organizing the event and making jelly, jam and pies to sell.

Aside from the organizers and vendors, she said there is a huge amount of work involved including town staff directing traffic, people delivering coffee to the vendors in the morning and overnight security by Young Life.

All the related groups like the Legion and The Gardens also have many people working on their part of the big day, she said.

The fair is centred on Veterans' Way and the curling rink, where the white elephant sale is held and there are booths like Baubles and Beads with a wide variety of jewellery, beautiful linens and chinaware.

People can enjoy the tranquility of the flowers, pond and organ music at The Gardens, along with a children's corner, or stroll through more than 140 vendors along Veterans' Way including quality crafts, art, plants, novelties and you can even find your summer reading at the Book Nook.

Throughout the fair there will be a bit of everything available to peruse including antiques and collectibles, kids' stuff, furniture and unique gifts

Check out the old fashion friendly neighbourhood atmosphere inside the Community Hall with St. Mark's bake tables, with their famous Holy Roller pies, the Country Market's homemade jams and chutneys and the New To You clothing market with thousands of items.

As always there will be entertainment on every corner so check the schedule and information booth at the main Memorial Avenue entrance to make sure you don't miss anything.

Around town that day there is also the Grand Prix d'Art, with artists painting out in public for prizes, the Art in Action Art Fair with over 70 artists and artisans beside TOSH (The Old School House) and the regular Saturday farmer's market.

Organizers remind people of the large parking lots behind Kwalikum Secondary School and at the Civic Centre, with regular electric shuttles offered by the Town of Qualicum Beach.

The day usually raises $16,000-$18,000, which goes to worthy causes around town including the Eagle Park seniors facility, hospice and school programs.

Wilke said the 140 vendors they have had for the last few years pretty much maxes out what they can fit in the area, and those 140 spots go fast.

Wilke thanked all their various partners including the town, The Gardens and curling club.

The 42nd annual event runs Saturday, July 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check www.stmarksqualicum.bc.ca for more information.

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