Last weekend was the Foggy Mountain Fall Fair and Local Colours ArtsFest here in Cumberland. I only attended part of it starting with the Fall Fair Follies on Friday night, which was one of those anyone-can-do-something variety shows, held at the United Church and hosted by Kevin Flesher, the Comox Valley Poet Laureate. (As an aside, as I get to know Kevin more I believe he might be Cumberland’s answer to my old friend, the notorious Robert Dayton, but more family style). The Follies was as one might expect, with some things perplexing, some things cute, and some things blowin’ you away. I really liked the dance Cathy Stoyko and crew did where the pantomimed witches brewing something in a cauldron, and at the end of the dance you find out they are making hallowe’en candy! Anything that ends with candy for the audience is good. That is just automatic.
There were several child acts that were impressive, and one Poetica Melancholia, who is the Denman Island General Store maudlin Poet Laureate. (Yes, this area is teeming with Poet Laureates). I loved Melancholia but as I only had my smart phone to take pictures I didn’t get a good one. Sorry, you will have to imagine it.
There is a vacant lot with one tree on it, next to the Waverly, that is some kind of memorial lot. People tell me no one knows who owns the lot. When I point out land titles are public record and one could just go to the Village Office and look, I am silenced, for no one wants to spoil the shroud of mystery that makes the lot magical. It was on this lot, (I think without the absent owner’s permission. Go, Cumberland!) that the stage for the fair was set the next morning. There was a block full of booths that mainly had local artists, and one foot cranked lathe, and this stage that had non-stop entertainment. We got there late and I only saw another dance (magic) and Sandman, the Rapping Cowboy (AKA Chris Sand). I liked Sandman. He’s part sad cowboy, part rapper, and part child entertainer.
The Fair culminates in the Cumberland Pie of the Year Contest, where there is a People’s Choice Award based on presentation, then “Celebrity” judging, awards, and a pie auction. Each entrant bakes two pies, one for judging and one for auctioning (proceeds go to the Cumberland Community Forest Society). The greatest part is everyone gets pie! The parts that aren’t eaten by the judges are distributed to the audience. We only stayed for about half of that, but because of it we found out the person who has the roadside scone stand on Marsden Road is 14 years old. She had pies in the contest, and she wasn’t even the youngest pie contestant. It had got down to 8 years old by the time we left. The NDP had two pie entries, and the other political parties had none, so there was that.
We had planned to go home after pie, but ended up getting drunk at the Abbey instead. Oh, Cumberland! You seduce us with your fairs.