OHSWEKEN—How do we move the Six Nations Fall Fair back to the customary second-weekend-in-September date?
Attendance at the Fall Fair was always good, at one time even boasting a Powwow to go along with the usual live events and exhibits. The midway was always a big draw. It was a community homecoming for Six Nations as well — something missing for the nearly 15,000 people who don’t live on Six Nations Indian Reserve No. 40.
The Fall Fair was moved to August, organizers said, because the company that brought the rides and midway amusements wasn’t available for the usual September date. The move has resulted in low attendance at the Fall Fair that shows this move has not been popular with the Six Nations community. Events and exhibits largely remain unseen.
Public reaction on social media questions the move.
Here’s why the Fall Fair was moved — so that local hockey organizations would have ice in the arena sooner.
“As soon as the Fair is over I can get the ice in the arena,” said the Six Nations’ arena manager, the late-Les Sowden back in 1988. “I have a system that I use but the Fair means I can’t get started until after midnight.”
The Fall Fair was clearly in competition for the arena. Sowden supported the Fall Fair, so his comment was not an attack on the Fall Fair. His comment points to the real reason the Fall Fair was moved to summer — accommodate minor hockey.
Here’s how the Fall Fair could be moved back to its traditional time; move the Fair grounds.
The old bingo hall could be a Fall Fair venue for exhibits. The move would also mean that local schools could attend on Fridays again. The student exhibits would be seen again.
The land north of the bingo hall could be transformed into the new stable and race-track. Plenty of parking exists in the area. The Fairgrounds could become the site of the Grand River Fall Powwow that means there would be a grandstand.
This is not mysterious. Everyone knows what fairgrounds look like.
Moving the fairgrounds from Ohsweken to Chiefswood would free up prime real estate in Ohsweken for the new high school while increasing the opportunity to increase quality recreation and arts venues to serve Six Nations Indian Reserve No. 40.
Thohahoken teaches social sciences and is from Six Nations.