Dew worm races are back at the second annual Ryder Lake Summer Fair, which takes place on Aug. 4, 2018. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress)

Dew worm races back at 2nd annual Ryder Lake Summer Fair

The Fair is back for the second year after a lengthy hiatus

Get ready, set, go!

It’s time again for the second annual Ryder Lake Summer Fair, which means it’s also time to get ready for the incredibly intense and ever-popular worm races.

“Dew worm races were the big thing years ago,” said Alen Reason, president of the Ryder Lake Farmers’ Institute. “And we had the boxes still sitting around, so we invented the Fair to start it back up.”

Tucked away on the east side of Promontory, Ryder Lake is considered one of the jewels of the Fraser Valley. “We have excellent hiking, camping, and lots of people (who visit) in the summertime,” said Reason.

It’s like the great outdoors within the city. “Even if you’re just going for a Sunday drive, this is the place to drive to.”

A community fundraising event, the Ryder Lake Summer Fair is jointly presented by the Ryder Lake Farmers’ Institute and the Women’s Institute, who jointly own the local hall, which hosts an array of events for people across the Valley.

“All profits go back to the revamping of the community hall,” explained Reason.

“We’ve (already) rebuilt our stage, and we have plans to make our bathrooms wheelchair accessible and renovate our kitchen and our floor. Bit by bit we chip away at the things we need to do.”

Last year’s Fair was the first after a decade-long hiatus, said Reason, and although it was successful, he said he hopes this year’s event will be even bigger.

“Last year we had 500 or 600 people but are hoping this year’s (Fair) will be bigger. We’ve tweaked it a bit to make it more visitor-friendly,” Reason continued.

RELATED: Dew worm races resurface at Ryder Lake Country Fair

“We’ve moved the kids’ section from the park to the same side as the Hall so all the family events will be on one side and the adult entertainment will be on the other side. Nobody should have to worry about kids crossing the street unattended.”

Reason says there will be an increase in the amount of races to participate in or watch. “We’ve (added more) boxes: it was (such) a huge event last year—and we’re expecting more participants this year—so we’ve doubled the amount of boxes to get through it quicker.”

An activity that goes back generations, dew worm races comprise a two-person team who works in tangent to race their worm toward the finish line by spraying water, which makes moving easier for the worm, and tickling the worm with a paintbrush.

As for the worms, Reason says participants are welcome to bring their own trained athletes, or enter one of the Fair’s worms in a race.

“Just no steroids,” added Reason with a chuckle.

In addition to the worm races, Reason says the Fair will have plenty of other activities for families to enjoy: there will be artisan vendors, a silent auction, a bake sale, a barbecue, a dog-and-pony show, and chicken poop bingo, “which is exactly how it sounds,” said Reason.

There will also be a pet parade where children are encouraged to dress up and enter their pet. “We had a few goats and llamas in last year’s parade,” Reason added.

For the grownups, there will be a barn dance, beer garden, and silent auction.

Held on Saturday, Aug. 4, at Ryder Lake (49265 Elk View Road), the Summer Fair will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free, but access to the Family area—which will boast a bouncy castle, giant sumo suits, and “old-school” games like three-legged races—costs $20 for a family of five, or $7 per person.

Participants who would like to register for the races or pet parade are asked to sign up online at https://form.jotform.com/stolonation/ryder-lake-registration-form. For more information about the 2018 Summer Fair, please visit the Facebook event listing.


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

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