Picture perfect with Rudy
Volunteers had a picture-perfect moment with a beautiful garden sculpture called Rudy that people can actually win if they take a picture, document where and when they saw the art piece and send it to the Russell Horticulture Society. From the left, event organizers, Lindley McPhail, Marie Claire Ivanski, Marilyn MacMillan and Louise Houle. Glover photo
RUSSELL – The Living Locally Fair returned to Russell Sat., Jan. 19 for its 11th year, showing off the township’s best, with local vendors displaying their services at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School.
Unfortunately, there was a slight setback to this year’s event after the Eastern Ontario Health Unit got involved, on top of the overwhelming amount of work for the aging volunteers; this led to 15 vendors being cut from the fair, from 125 vendors to 110.
“Some people were very concerned that we’ve been shutdown by the Health Unit or something like that because we’re no longer serving soups and stews. However, the real reason is that we have an aging population with our volunteers and teachers,” said Lindley McPhail, the event’s organizer. “We realized there was a limit to what we can handle. So, we decided that the best thing to do was to shrink the fair a little bit, which meant we needed more vendor space. We decided back in March that there was enough good food here without us making soups and stews, so we cut it out. That allowed us to put an additional dozen vendors in the atrium where we normally serve food.”
Instead of serving soups and stews, there were designated rooms where people could enjoy a relaxing seat with a cup of coffee or tea.
Two of the food exhibitors that were supposed to be participating in the fair couldn’t because they worked out of their kitchen, which is not allowed. However, despite this, McPhail reassures that the Health Unit was nothing but helpful and gracious throughout the whole inspection.
“Two of our food exhibitors worked out of their home kitchens and, unfortunately, you’re not allowed to do that for an event like this. That was the only hit the Health Unit took on us,” she said. “Everything is now up to code; the inspector was in last night and today and he was very pleased with how everything went. I have to say that the Health Unit has been very gracious and helpful in pointing people to the correct places and legislation. It’s been a helpful relationship and we’re going to meet with them afterwards to have a long talk. He’s seen the whole set-up about what he thinks we’ve done right and what he thinks we can do better on.”
Despite the fair’s cutbacks, the participation was still fantastic according to volunteer Marie Claire Ivanski, who stated that “people seem to be really enjoying what Russell has to offer.”