2019 Board Members – The 147th Annual Chilliwack Fair

7590 Lickman Road, Chilliwack BC V2R4A7 info@chilliwackfair.com 604-824-8191

2019 Board Members

Meet the team that is responsible for putting on the 147th Chilliwack Fair! The Chilliwack & District Agricultural Society has been putting on the Annual Chilliwack Fair for almost a century and a half! The board members meet monthly, year-round, and volunteer anywhere between 50 to over 250 hours of their time to plan and organize this fun-filled community event. The Chilliwack Fair has become a cornerstone of Chilliwack’s summer, and an event the whole community looks forward to all year. 

In order to get to know each one of our board members on a more personal level, we asked them some questions. Keep reading to see what they had to say.

Check back in the next few weeks as we introduce all of this year’s members!

Eryne Croquet

Director

Say hello to Eryne Croquet! She is new to the Chilliwack & District Agricultural Society’s Board of Directors this year. Eryne is an agrologist and works as an Environmental Consultant. Agrology is a broad and multidisplinary area of study – it is a branch of soil science that involves the production of crops, and intersects multiple disciplines in natural, economic, and social sciences in a way that aids in the practice and understanding of agricultural and natural sciences. Keep reading to learn more about Eryne and her involvement with the Chilliwack Fair!

What made you want to join the board and volunteer your time throughout the year?

I’m a professional agrologist so I understand the value of agriculture and why it’s important to celebrate its benefits. I think the Chilliwack Fair provides an easy way for people in the community to learn about our agricultural roots. Plus, fairs are fun!

Are you involved with any other volunteer groups in the community? If so, which groups?

I’m on the executive team for the Fraser Valley Branch of the BC Institute of Agrologists. In Chilliwack, I help organise the Save our Slough spring paddle the slough and fall bike the slough events. I also help with bike to work week. I think we should all ride our bikes more often.

What is your favourite thing about the fair?

The food?  Actually, I love seeing the artisanship in the Home and Garden categories especially in some of the more traditional arts, like weaving, spinning, sewing, and knitting. Some day, I might have the patience and time to learn!

Tell us about an interesting fact about yourself.

My birthday is St. Patrick’s day, that’s why my name is Eryne. You’ll have to ask my parents why they chose to spell it the way they did.

What is your favourite farm animal? Why?

Chickens. Everyone should have chickens in their backyard.

What is your favourite thing about Chilliwack?

 It’s so easy to access the mountains from here. Don’t tell people that though, it’s our best kept secret.

What trend do you hope makes a comeback?

I’m usually happy when trends fade away so I can see what trendy people will do next. I’m anticipating seeing MC Hammer pants make a resurgence soon. I think I’m scared of that.

What is one song you have completely memorized?

Oh Canada!

If you could have any job in the world, and money wasn’t a factor, what job would you have?

Helicopter pilot. Can you imagine how fun it would be fly all over the place?

What are the current shows you are watching?

 Isn’t everyone watching Chernobyl right now?

What is your favourite past time or hobby?

I love backpacking in the alpine with my dog for days on end.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

I’d probably only win $2 on a scratch ticket, so I’d spend it all at once in the candy store.

Cathy Oss

President

Meet Cathy! Cathy has been involved with the Chilliwack Fair for over 20 years! Before she was on the Board, Cathy grew up participating in the Fair, in the 4-H section. She is currently serving her sixth year as the President of the Chilliwack & District Agricultural Society. We admire all her hard work and dedication to the Chilliwack Fair and the larger Chilliwack community. Keep doing what you do, Cathy!

What made you want to join the board and volunteer your time throughout the year?

The Fair has been part of my life since I was a kid in the Guernsey 4-H Club. Years later, my kids were showing at the Fair with the 4-H Dog Club and I was invited to join the Board to represent 4-H. 20 years later and I am still here.

Are you involved with any other volunteer groups in the community? If so, which groups?

Not anymore because the Fair takes up most of my spare time! In the past I was a leader of the Chilliwack 4-H Dog Club for about 15 years. I have also been involved with quite a few other community events in the past such as: Chair of Christmas Parade for several years, helped organize Easter Eggstravaganza, the Harvest Festival, etc.

What is your favourite thing about the fair?

The people I get to work with and the friends I’ve made. Ours is a ‘working board’ so it’s not just going to meetings. During the winter the directors are all busy creating the prize book, researching new entertainment and creating displays. At Fair time the directors all help set up displays and animal stalls, put up signs, sort ribbons, etc. Everyone works hard and none of them get paid a penny. Some of them even take holidays so they can work at the Fair! But we all have fun and love what we do.

Tell us about an interesting fact about yourself.

I’m a dog person and my favorite breed is Golden Retriever. Currently I have a 9 year old Golden named Simon who is my constant companion and garden helper.

What is your favourite farm animal? Why?

Cow! I grew up on a dairy farm, and always had my own calf that I raised, trained, and showed at several fairs each summer. 4-H kids always get really attached to their calves.

What is your favourite thing about Chilliwack?

The countryside and farmland, and easy access to so many green spaces.  I’m not a city person and don’t feel comfortable in big cities

What trend do you hope makes a comeback?

Less time on Facebook and more time talking to people.

What is one song you have completely memorized?

LOL  none. I have a tin ear!

If you could have any job in the world, and money wasn’t a factor, what job would you have?

Maybe a travel agent, because then I could travel the world and see different cultures.

What are the current shows you are watching?

I never seem to have time to watch TV. I can’t sit still that long.

What is your favourite past time or hobby?

Probably gardening. I spend all of my spare time out in the garden. I feel happiest when my hands are dirty! I also enjoy playing with photography.

Sometimes I can combine the two by taking pictures of my garden. Maybe I’ll enter some in the Fair!

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

That’s easy. I’d travel. So many places in the world I’d like to see.

Paul Jeffrey

Director

This is Paul. The 2019 Fair is Paul’s second year on the Chilliwack & District Agricultural Society’s Board. He is now retired, but used to be an RCMP Officer! Come meet Paul at this year’s fair.  

What made you want to join the board and volunteer your time throughout the year?

I have always tried to give back to my community.

Are you involved with any other volunteer groups in the community? If so, which groups?

No, I have looked at others but decided to stay with the Fair.

What is your favourite thing about the fair?

Watching the people have fun, I have always been a people watcher. They never disappoint.

Tell us about an interesting fact about yourself.

I love to cruise, travel the world.

What is your favourite farm animal? Why?

It would have to be the horses. All that I have met have had a personality, mostly good.

What is your favourite things about Chilliwack?

I have found that I can find everyting I want in Chilliwack, no need to go into Vancouver.

What trend do you hope makes a comeback?

Front porches. There was a time everyone knew everyone. You would find them sitting on the front porch. Now everyone has their eyes down on device.

What is one song you have completely memorized?

Something not many will know, Hearts of Oak.

If you could have any job in the world, and money wasn’t a factor, what job would you have?

Cruise director on a cruise ship. You are always making things happen to keep people happy.

What are the current shows you are watching?

Most on the BBC. Mrs Browns Boys, Father Brown and Death in Paradise.

What is your favourite pass time or hobby?

Wood working, mostly with logs. I search out wind blown down trees. No need to cut a live tree that way.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

Take care of family first. Then look for charities.

Jennifer Kemp

Director

Meet Jennifer Kemp! She is welcomed as a board member by the Chilliwack & District Agricultural Society this year, but also volunteers a lot of her time on a few other boards. Along with that, she works for Stó:l? Nation – she is one busy bee! Born and raised in Chilliwack, Jennifer has been involved with the fair for many years – she grew up as a member of 4-H! You can find her at this year’s fair making sure the beer garden is running smoothly. Welcome to the Board, Jennifer!

What made you want to join the board and volunteer your time throughout the year?

Growing up I was a member of 4-H, when my sister in law asked me to help out with the beer garden, I jumped on board. Then after the fair last year Nicole asked me if I would be interested in joining them as a member of the board. I answered back – I would love to help out!

Are you involved with any other volunteer groups in the community? If so, which groups?

Yes, I help out with other groups in our community. I am a Board Member for Chilliwack Football Club (Chilliwack Minor Soccer Club) as the Fall Recreational Coordinator U4-U6, and I’m a Board Member for Chilliwack & District Oldtimers Association as the Treasurer/Administrator.

What is your favourite thing about the fair?

My favourite thing about the fair is the food and seeing all the Hobbies, Home & Garden Displays.

Tell us about an interesting fact about yourself.

I have been to Mardi Gras three times, and lived in Australia twice.

What is your favourite farm animal? Why?

My favourite farm animals are cows. Cows are emotional, societal animals who make and keep best friends, and love physical affection.

What is your favourite thing about Chilliwack?

My favourite thing about Chilliwack is the outdoors and the mountains.

If you could have any job in the world, and money wasn’t a factor, what job would you have?

Truck Driver – so I could travel more!

What are the current shows you are watching?

Modern Family and Out Daughtered.

What is your favourite pass time or hobby?

I love playing sports, watching my niece and nephew at all their activities and being able to paper craft.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

Take all my family (Aunts, Uncle, Cousin, Parents, Sibling and nieces and nephews) on a trip to Mexico.

Mary Giesler 

Director

Mary has been part of the Chilliwack & District Agricultural Society Board for many years. In 1998, when the Board was in need of a Secretary, Mary was asked to join, and has been on the Board since. However, her and her family have been involved since long before. Growing up, Mary’s family showed dairy cattle at the fair, and as kids, her and her siblings were all in the 4H program. Her mom, husband, and brother have all also been Board members, and her mom, husband, and daughter still volunteer with the Fair! Mary was also part of the office staff for a few years back when she was in high school. After all that fair experience, Mary’s favourite thing about the fair is checking out all the entries.

Mary is a dairy farmer and an avid curler. Aside from the Chilliwack& District Agricultural Society, Mary is also the President of the BC Chapter of PEO, a Philanthropic Educational Organization that finds and helps women with their education through grants, scholarships, and interest-free loans.

Ryan Britz

Treasurer

This is Ryan. He is our third new Board member this year. Before he joined the Board, Ryan worked in the fair office for three years. Ryan’s ties to the fair go beyond that, however. His mom is a 4H leader, and our President, Cathy, just so happens to be his aunt! Ryan volunteers a lot of his time throughout the year with the fair, but is also in school to become an accountant. When he isn’t studying or busy with the fair, chances are you’ll find him outside doing outdoorsy things!

What made you want to join the board and volunteer your time throughout the year?

I actually started out working in the Fair Office as a student back in 2015. I was responsible for the data entry for the exhibitors and handled the livestock show logistics, among other things. It felt extremely rewarding seeing families enjoying themselves at an event that I helped to organize, and I found myself wanting to be a part of creating this positive family event from then on. I continued working in the office until 2017, when I began my current job, and leapt at the chance to join the board this past year! 

Are you involved with any other volunteer groups in the community? If so, which groups?

I’m not involved with other volunteer groups. The Chilliwack Fair is all I have time for right now! 

What is your favourite thing about the fair?

 I love watching the Fair come to life – from the moment that everything’s ready for the public late Thursday night, to seeing the public stream through the fairgrounds during the weekend. There’s just something magical about it.

Tell us about an interesting fact about yourself.

I climbed some Mayan ruins in Mexico on the day their calendar said the world would end! Nothing happened.

What is your favourite farm animal? Why?

Cows! I have memories of helping my cousin round up their herd for milking, and bottle-feeding calves when I’d go over to spend time with him when I was younger. Also, I’m a huge fan of milk.

What is your favourite thing about Chilliwack?

Chilliwack is just perfectly placed; it’s a short drive to the big city, and a short drive out to nature.

What trend do you hope makes a comeback?

Originality in movies. There’s been far too many remakes of movies over the past few years; where has the industry’s creativity gone?

What is one song you have completely memorized?

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. But don’t ask me to sing it! 

If you could have any job in the world, and money wasn’t a factor, what job would you have?

 Easy, I’d be a pilot. It’d be amazing to get to travel the world, see all kinds of foreign cities, and get paid to do it.

What are the current shows you are watching?

The Blacklist. Jame Spader plays one amazing criminal mastermind! 

What is your favourite pastime or hobby?

I enjoy hiking, kayaking, and camping. I’m also an avid reader when I have the free time.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

Travel and see the world!

Deborah Dempster

Secretary

Deborah has been on the Board for a year now, but was a member of the Chilliwack & District Agricultural Society before that. She has also been involved next door at the Atchelitz Threshermens Association for over 10 years!   

What made you want to join the Board and volunteer your time throughout the year?

I have been involved ‘next door’ at the ATA museum for at least 10 years. I was volunteering there throughout the Fair, but didn’t get to actually see any of it. I decided to check out what was going on, on the other side of the fence.

Are you involved with any other volunteer groups in the community? If so, which groups?

I am a member of the Atchelitz Threshermens Association. I volunteer in the Pioneer Museum, Grandma’s Grill (Concession) and am involved in the administration end of things.

What is your favourite thing about the fair? 

I love the atmosphere. So many things to see and do…and the food 😉

Tell us about an interesting fact about yourself.

I know how to grease a Kenworth.

What is your favourite farm animal? Why?

I kept domestic ducks of various breeds in my backyard at one time. 32 of them…and they all had names. Real characters.

What is your favourite thing about Chilliwack?

I love that we are surrounded by natural beauty. I was born and raised in the Valley. We are close enough to everything, while maintaining that small town feel.

What is one song you have completely memorized?

Too many to list – I grew up in a house full of music. I’d like to think that I can sing…but I’ve heard otherwise. 

If you could have any job in the world, and money wasn’t a factor, what job would you have?

I’ve always been interested in architecture. I’d like to design and build homes.

What are the current shows you are watching?

The Walking Dead.

What is your favourite pastime or hobby?

I have a variety of interests and hobbies. I’d probably complete more projects if I reined it in a bit.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

It would be nice to support projects that benefit the community. There are so many great ideas that don’t get off the ground due to funding.

Sheri Williamson

Director

What made you want to join the board and volunteer your time throughout the year?

I was asked 4 years ago if I would like to put on a 4-H horse show as I was the leader of the group at the time. I have been on the board since.

Are you involved with any other volunteer groups in the community? If so, which groups?

No besides my job and my own horses the only volunteer work I do now is for the fair.

What is your favourite thing about the fair?

The horses

Tell us about an interesting fact about yourself.

I have been involved with horses since I was 12 years old. I did 3 day event riding on the young riders team for team BC. I have since changed my discipline from the English world to the Western world competing in Team cattle penning with my family.

What is your favourite farm animal? Why?

Horses of course what girl does not like horses

What is your favourite thing about Chilliwack?

I love all the beautiful mountains and all the trails

What trend do you hope makes a comeback?

The farming community

What is one song you have completely memorized?

Hmm don’t really have one

If you could have any job in the world, and money wasn’t a factor, what job would you have?

Riding horses everyday

What are the current shows you are watching?

I like to watch documentaries on crime

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

Quit my job and just ride my horses and travel with my husband and kids

Kaija Oksanen

Director

What made you want to join the board and volunteer your time throughout the year?

My family emigrated from Finland, settled in Thunder Bay, Ontario and I’ve worked across the prairie provinces until I moved to British Columbia in 1989. I was a graphic artist for 30 years until I retired in 2013 and bought a place in Chilliwack. I always need something to do, especially being ‘retired’, and I find more work now than before! I am an avid gardener and was the Floral Arts convenor until this year when I switched to Kitchen Arts. I have designed the Chilliwack Fair Entry Book for the last four years and I also have a part-time job helping seniors downsize.

Are you involved with any other volunteer groups in the community? If so, which groups?

Prior to moving here, I belonged to the Corvette Club of BC and was the newsletter editor for a short time. But my Vette is long gone and with working part time and volunteering at the Chilliwack Fair, I don’t have time for much else (except maybe another Vette!)

What is your favourite thing about the fair?

Art and Photography are my favourite sections of the fair, being visual oriented as a graphic artist. I also love Kitchen Arts, Floral Arts, Needle Arts and all the animals of course, big or small. 

What is your favourite thing about Chilliwack?

My favourite things about my hometown are the smallness, uniqueness and all around beauty of the city. Simple things like open fields of blueberry bushes, goats following each other in file, walking along the Chilliwack River, no parking meters … what more could you ask for? 

What trend do you hope makes a comeback?

I don’t follow trends but I’m all for what lies ahead, especially new technology. 

What is one song you have completely memorized?

I’ve been a Blues music fan since I heard Robert Johnson and Willie Dixon for the first time, but I have the House of the Rising Sun in my head. My son learned to play it on his Axe before he passed away in 1992 and the song has stuck forever. I have two daughters: one who lives in Vancouver, and another one is Saskatchewan.  

What are the current shows you are watching?

I watch documentaries, nature programs, police shows, and cooking shows in my spare time.

What is your favourite pastime or hobby?

 My favourite hobbies include drawing, computer maintenance, home renovating, reading, gardening, haunting second-hand stores, and driving across Canada.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

I don’t see myself winning the lottery anytime soon, but should that ever happen, a larger home and shared money with my family might do the trick. Otherwise, I’m quite happy here in Chilliwack!

Louise Pollock

Board Member

Louise has been involved with the fair for 6 years, but she had been involved with the School Garden program and their entries in the fair for some years before that. Louise is an avid gardener and photographer. She often combines the two to make some really cool and unique images!

What made you want to join the board and volunteer your time throughout the year?

I was asked by Iris Friesen to take on the job of convenor of the Home and garden building 6 years ago – the same year as Nicole.

Are you involved with any other volunteer groups in the community? If so, which groups?

Yes, the Chilliwack Schools Garden Program. I have judged gardens for many years and in 2004 I was the Chairperson and on the executive board of the program.

 What is your favourite thing about the fair?

I enjoy the camaraderie of all the convenors and volunteers preparing the set up of the fair. During the fair, I really enjoy talking with all the fairgoers and exhibitors.

Tell us about an interesting fact about yourself.

I enjoy photography and belong to a couple of photography clubs. I enjoy workshops in multiple exposure and love all the aspects of photography. I was also a part of building the pellet gardens at the fair, so when you come to the fair, be sure to check those out!

What is your favourite farm animal? Why?

The jersey cow. I like the colour and their eyes and the fact that they have high cream percentage in their milk.

What is your favourite thing about Chilliwack?

I feel that there is nowhere in the world you can go to see the wonderful panorama of mountains that surround this valley.

What trend do you hope makes a comeback?

Ma and pa farms (small farms).

What is one song you have completely memorized?

I just love rock n roll!

If you could have any job in the world, and money wasn’t a factor, what job would you have?

A travel blogger. I’d love to be able to travel the world and document it (photographically).

What are the current shows you are watching?

Knowledge Network and PBS

What is your favourite pastime or hobby?

I belong to PROBUS, it’s a group of retired businesspeople that enjoy walking, hiking, photography, crib, and many more things.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

I would take 6 months and travel through BC to Newfoundland. I would love to stop in and visit fairs across Canada.

Countdown to the Fair! -105 Days 23 Hours 55 Minutes 7 Seconds