By Keith Brooks
“It was a hot, very windy Friday, August 19, 1950, when 4 members of St. Anne’s Guild met with Mr. Evan McGugan at Western Fairgrounds in mid-morning.”
And so began what turned out to be a 65-year venture for St. Anne’s (Byron) to prepare and serve food to thousands of fair-goers, farm families and workers looking after their animals in the barns and exhibition spaces, as well as Fair staff and those working on the amusement rides.
As of 2016, St. Anne’s will not be operating a food booth at the Western Fair as we would no longer be able to offer our 24 hour-a-day hospitality and would be restricted to serving food only when the Fair is open to the public. Those of us who have worked on the project bid it a fond farewell. We had more years of fun and fellowship than most and wish the same to our friends at the Fair. It was the place where many friendships were forged, great memories were made and our faith was put into action.
Profits from the Fair project have contributed to building a rectory, a Parish Hall and church maintenance among other things. For decades the parish has donated a tithe of the profits and a portion of accumulated interest from Fair proceeds to local charities. The food booth will keep feeding members of our community long after the tent is put away. St. Anne’s parishioners will keep on sharing their stories and their faith in service to others wherever they go and at whatever project they are involved in.
Over its 65-year history, countless numbers of people and families have been involved in food preparation, transportation of people and food to the Fair or at the Fair booth itself. Many stories have been and will be told about what happened over the course of our involvement with the Western Fair. Look for some of them in the October edition of the Huron Church News.
Were you involved with or a patron of our Western Fair food booth? If so, please join us to share your stories and enjoy some time-tested Fair food as we celebrate our “Farewell to the Fair” on Saturday, September 17, from 5-8 p.m. at St. Anne’s, Byron, 1344 Commissioners Road West, London.