The 2017 Chautauqua and Fall Fair. File photo

Chautauqua anticipation builds

Chinese Cultural Dinner to kick off annual festival in Fernie on September 13

The 2018 Chautauqua and Fall Fair schedule this year is nothing short of action-packed.

From September 13-16, Fernie’s downtown core will be transformed into a cultural hub, featuring extravagant food as well as a variety of art and music.

The festival starts on Thursday, September 13, with a Chinese Cultural Dinner at the Fernie Family Centre. Before dinner begins, the Vantol Percussion Collective will performed followed by traditional live music from the Calgary Chinese Music Development Association and a talk on the history of the local and B.C. Chinese community.

This will be followed by a Pride n’ Paint at The Valley Social.

On Friday, September 14, Lunch n’ Literature with Fernie At War author Wayne Norton at the Fernie Heritage Library kicks off the day of celebrations, with food trucks available from 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. At 6:00 p.m., turn your eyes to the Chautauqua Main Stage, which will be set up on 5th Street by the Fernie Museum. Musicians will perform all night, including Nelson band Red Eyed Soul, as well as Flatback and two-time nominated blues singer, Ndidi Onokwulu.

Saturday’s events start off in the best way possible with a pancake breakfast and grill in the Fernie Museum parking lot, which will run from 9:00 a.m. until noon. Music begins at the main stage at noon, featuring Calgary Folk Music Festival award winner, John Wort Hannam, and live rockabilly and jive from Peter and the Wolves, as well as Heather Blush and The Uppercuts.

From 11:00 a.m. until 4 p.m., a children’s tent will host live entertainment, face painting, Magformers building challenge as well as crafts and games. During this time, there will also be entertainment for the adults, with an Antique Car Show close by.

Also on Saturday is Heritage on the Lawn, hosted at City Hall grounds, featuring hands-on activities and a special history presentation by the Ktunaxa First Nation from 1:30-2:30 p.m. There will also be a teepee building challenge, a vintage market, and art on the lawn.

This year’s Art on the Lawn will feature a 20-panel art installation by local artist Brina Schenk, as well as a variety of other artists who will be painting live and displaying their work for sale.

Participating artists include Laura Nelson, Brianne Chisholm, Vanessa Croome, Gabriella Escobar, Michele Kremer and Brina Schenk as well as several artists from the Fernie Visual Arts Guild. Artwork by Amanda Haugrud, Aidan Baines, Melanie MacVoy, Pru Harshan, Megan Haeusler, Judy Winter, Kathy Stead, Dorothy Sharp, Tyra Collombin, Pat Moore and Leanne Stothert will also be on display.

At 12:30 pm, Creative Unblocking author Amanda Truscott will offer a free one-hour workshop on how to follow the five steps of the creative process.

Throughout the day on Saturday there will also be a number of interpretive guides through some of Fernie’s most historical spots.

Come the evening, the Back Alley Speakeasy Tour departs at 7:30 p.m. and will feature a tour of Fernie’s best ‘gin n’ jazz’ joints.

The $70 advance ticket includes cocktails at several locations plus refreshments, and live performances by the Johnny Summers Jazz Quintet and Heavy Petal Burlesque.

On Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., visit the Fernie Fall Fair and Mountain Market at City Hall Grounds for craft displays, blue ribbon contests, zucchini races, cake walks and more.

During the morning there will also be a Jazz Brunch at the Park Place Lodge, featuring good food and live music by the Johnny Summers Jazz Quintet.

From 1-1:45 p.m. there will be a community service at the Chautauqua Stage, celebrating the harvest and bonds of community and fellowship in an open, interfaith service led by Reverend Andrea Brennan.

Afternoon tea at the Fernie Seniors Centre, as well as a Chautauqua Farewell Dinner will bid farewell to the weekend.

For a full schedule of events, visit


John Wort Hannam will perform at this year’s Chautauqua and Fall Fair on September 15. Submitted

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