Snakes at a Fair (Kensington Community Fair)

Rearing snake, Kensington Community Fair
Rearing snake, Kensington Community Fair

As fairs go, the Kensington Community Fair is a slightly odd one. This is a small neighbourhood fair held at Kensington Park (Kensington & Hastings) in North Burnaby that this year was on Saturday 12 August.

Attendance is good, but most of the people attending are neighbourhood residents, and possibly a good proportion of those realizing there was a fair on that day only because they passed it on their way to or from home. As such, the feel of the fair is more like an open house than a fair: not many people go there to buy stuff; there are few merchants, and those that are there tend to be neighbourhood purveyors of services–music instruction, karate lessons, that sort of thing. Most of the booths are those of local charities, societies, and clubs.

But as I said, the fair is a slightly odd one.

It’s not odd because of a lack of typical fair features; there is that. There’s lots of entertainment for children: a midway with merry-go-round, inflatable bouncing castle and slides, and the like; popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones; a clown, balloon animals; tubs of chalk for sidewalk art; a (wooden) cow milking contest. For adults, not so much, though there’s a stage, which had some pretty good performers on it. One described and demonstrated percussion instruments from around the world, and the closing act was a group performing hits of yesteryear (e.g. Beatles songs). There was food: burgers, hot dogs, chips, pop.

But the range of vendor displays was the slightly odd part of the fair. Mostly educational or informational booths rather than festive ones. I’ve already mentioned the karate and music schools, but the local politicians, MP Bill Siksay and MLA Richard Lee both were putting in face time, as was Port Vancouver. The BC Renfest was there. So were the doggies of the adopt-an-ex-racer company Greyhound Pets.

And then there were the snakes.

The snakes. At the fair.

The snakes were part of a family-run exhibition (unfortunately, I didn’t think to write down their name, nor take a card, and now I can’t manage to find them on the ‘net.) There were also lizards on show, but it was the snakes that were the hit. For $7 or $10, you could have your photo taken with a huge yellow python. Another two snakes were in cages, idling most of the time, but not completely lethargic–I was lucky enough to be there as the larger one reared up (the photo of that is at the start this entry). As might be expected, they were very much the highlight of the fair for many.

I mean, how often do you get to see snakes at a fair?

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