Irvine Ag So­ci­ety looks to 2021 for Wanda Wood­ward Memo­rial Bench Show

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - FARM NEWS - Con­trib­uted

Irvine & Dis­trict Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety met on June 15th to dis­cuss the fea­si­bil­ity of host­ing the an­nual Wanda Wood­ward Memo­rial Bench Show & Com­mer­cial Dis­plays that were pre­vi­ously sched­uled for the week­end of Septem­ber 5 & 6th this fall. The Bench Show that is nor­mally held dur­ing the an­nual 20-mile Post Days is part of a much an­tic­i­pated week­end of fam­ily fun for the whole town and agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity.

Af­ter re­view­ing the stages of re­open­ing rec­om­mended by the Al­berta Gov­ern­ment, and Al­berta Health Ser­vices; as well as con­sid­er­ing the con­tact rich na­ture of the Bench Show event it­self, the So­ci­ety voted to can­cel the Bench Show for the 2020 sea­son.

The can­cel­la­tion is dis­ap­point­ing, as many in town look for­ward to the fall ex­hi­bi­tion of lo­cal gar­den­ing, bak­ing, pre­serv­ing, and art.

How­ever, the Ag So­ci­ety felt that the safety of our neigh­bors, friends and fam­ily within our com­mu­nity was the most im­por­tant pri­or­ity.

As a com­mu­nity group fo­cused on agri­cul­ture and small town vi­brancy, the Irvine & Dis­trict Ag So­ci­ety felt that can­celling this sea­sons events will pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for the plan­ning com­mit­tee to re­view the pro­cesses of the Bench Show and create changes for the fu­ture that will al­low the tra­di­tional ex­hi­bi­tion to stay true to its his­tor­i­cal roots while adapt­ing to changes in how our com­mu­ni­ties meet.

To­day, in­ter­est in the skills such as bak­ing bread, sav­ing seeds, hand knit­ting, and pre­serv­ing food to name just a few are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing renewed in­ter­est in younger gen­er­a­tions. There­fore ex­hibits such as the tra­di­tional Bench Show that high­light and cel­e­brate the best of these skills in our neigh­bors, and friends are more im­por­tant than ever.

At one time most ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties in Al­berta cel­e­brated a year of har­vest and skill with an ex­hi­bi­tion like the Bench Show. Sadly, Irvine is one of only a hand­ful of small towns in Al­berta left who host a tra­di­tional skill ex­hibit of this kind. The 2021 sea­son will be the 40th an­niver­sary of this event! It is the Ag So­ci­eties hope that with the ex­tra year of plan­ning, the 40th an­nual Bench Show in Septem­ber of 2021 will be the best year yet! We are look­ing for­ward to it, and hope the com­mu­nity is too.

So whether you are an ex­pert or new gar­dener, baker, can­ner, orar­ti­san...Please stay tuned to Irvine Face­book, and watch for the new In­sta­gram feed, as well as post­ings at the Post Of­fice and in the lo­cal pa­pers for up­dates and op­por­tu­ni­ties at next years show. We hope to see there!

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