Editorial: Having fun during new normal times

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The past couple of weeks have seen life on Salt Spring Island return to some semblance of normalcy under the province’s Phase-3 restart plan.

Vehicle and ferry traffic is up, more retail stores have opened, restaurants are providing sit-down service and the Rainbow Road Aquatic Centre has even opened on a limited basis. Five cars can now access the recycling depot at one time.

B.C.’s most prominent public figure these days — Dr. Bonnie Henry — even chose to visit Salt Spring for her first Phase-3 holiday over this past weekend.

The changes mean more options for islanders and visitors and, most importantly, some much-needed revenue for island businesses and non-profit agencies. For the many local people who struggle financially, the reopening of the island’s two thrift stores, run by Lady Minto Hospital Auxiliary and Islanders Working Against Violence, has restored a vital service.

There’s signs of life in the cultural realm as well, with live music returning to island restaurants, a Shakespeare in the park show set for later this month, art galleries open and the Salt Spring Painters’ Guild show on tap at ArtSpring beginning on July 27.

What cannot be mounted in an effective reduced public fashion, though, are annual large community events such as the island’s fall fair, Pride festival or the Canada Day celebration.

Thankfully for fall fair lovers, the Farmers’ Institute’s fall fair committee has come up with a way to keep the spirit of the fair alive even if everyone can’t get together to admire the hobby arts exhibits, animals or zucchini racers. For an event called the Salt Spring Fun Fair, youth and adults are invited to send photos of themselves with their exhibits — whether it’s a plate of apples or a Lego creation — to the fall fair committee at ssifallfair@shaw.ca. As many photos as possible will be compiled in a special Driftwood publication that will come out the week after the fall fair would have occurred this year. Entries will be accepted from now until Sept. 1.

It’s too easy to stay wrapped up in a safe cocoon while the coronavirus pandemic plays out. If proper precautions are taken, most people can enjoy at least a slice of pre-COVID life — or embrace creative options like those presented by the fall fair organizers this year — and have as much fun as possible even if things aren’t still back to “normal.”

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