Children eagerly await their chance to make a print of a salmon – using a salmon – at this year’s Fall Festival at Haig Brown House.

Fall Festival at Haig Brown House celebrates the environment, local food and community

The new and improved Fall Festival at Haig Brown House celebrated fall, harvest and volunteers.

As acting mayor Charlie Cornfield told the crowd at the Fall Festival at Haig Brown House, the grass may have been damp, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the people of Campbell River in celebrating the area’s environmental initiatives and strategies.

“I was amazed when I pulled up and couldn’t find a parking spot,” Cornfield joked while welcoming the crowd to the annual event, which received somewhat of a makeover this year.

“I came to the very first one of these, and it was a lot easier to find a spot,” Cornfield said, adding that the event has been a fixture of the community since its inception, thanks to the enthusiasm of Campbell Riverites who care about the natural world that surrounds us in this part of the world.

“I really have to thank the Greenways Land Trust,” Cornfield said, “and all the volunteers who help to facilitate all the conservation efforts we’ve got going on here in Campbell River – and believe me, there’s a lot.

If you look at Campbell River, we excel at it. We’re the only community that I’m aware of that has a stewardship group on every creek, stream and river, which is really amazing, and that’s a reflection of the spirit of the people of Campbell River – which is what drew me to move to Campbell River in the first place.”

The event is held in September each year on International Rivers Day, to recognize the importance of our waterways, “but also to pay homage to those community members and groups involved in local conservation efforts and celebrate what we produce, prepare and distribute locally,” said Bruce Izard, president of the board of the Museum at Campbell River Society, who put the event on each year.

“It’s also a day to enjoy this property – which is a real hidden gem within this community – and honour the legacies of Roderick and Anne Haig Brown and their work in education, conservation, social justice and preserving this natural environment,” Izard said.

Cornfield agreed wholeheartedly.

“We are blessed that they made Campbell River their home and left such a rich legacy to our community,” he said, adding he was especially excited about the festival’s new approach this year.

“For the first time, we’ve got a food market aspect happening,” which, he said, is an encouraging move for the event, since the city has a goal of producing 10 per cent of its own food by 2031.

Other activities and events at the festival included craft stations for the kids (or the young-at-heart), nature walks along Kingfisher Creek, the always popular Puppet Theatre put on by the Museum at Campbell River, a silent auction with the proceeds going towards the Haig Brown Writer-in-Residence program, music by local artists Aubrey Burke and Beth Supple and the presentation of the City of Campbell River’s annual Stewardship Awards.