Fernie’s Friendly Fall

One thing I really enjoy about Fernie is how easy it is to choose how social you want to be without needing to make plans. You can turn up to free gallery openings, participate in group bike rides, sign up for workshops or join a regular yoga class and be surrounded by friends and friendly faces, all ready to chat and maybe grab a coffee or a beer afterwards. Fernie’s social calendar is packed with weekly, monthly and ad-hoc events that are easy to drop in to, and you’re always welcome alone, or with friends.

If you feel like being more anonymous, it’s pretty easy to enjoy a late movie by yourself, curl up in one of the big leather armchairs at the library and do your grocery shopping at 9pm and nobody will bother you. It’s worth recognising though, that although we think of Fernie as a very friendly place it can be isolating to newcomers and singles – groups of tightly-knit friends and endless activities can sometimes make it appear that there’s nowhere to fit in if you’ve just arrived in town or happen to live alone or in a challenging home environment.

The Vancouver Foundation recently released new research that many people are feeling lonely and disconnected in BC. On September 13 as part of the opening night of the Fernie Chautauqua, the Chinese Cultural Dinner was also part of ‘On The Table;’ a social initiative aimed at connecting people over food and encouraging conversation about the issues we are all facing. The topics discussed will be collected and shared through the Foundation to provide a snapshot of what’s on people’s minds throughout BC right now – visit onthetablebc.com for more information. As we head into the municipal elections, I look forward to hearing our candidates’ vision for the future of Fernie and how they hope to maintain the friendly, welcoming atmosphere that we all cherish without losing any of the small-town charm that defines us. Learning how our population of proud, passionate long-time locals and energetic, vibrant new residents can move forward together in a sustainable, responsible way in our thriving community will certainly be just one of many issues we will face in the near future.

The Fernie Chautauqua and Fall Fair on September 13-16 was just one of September’s fantastic events in a month that saw the return of the Fernie Ghostriders to Fernie’s Memorial Arena, Indie Films Fernie at the Vogue (Second Sunday of every month from now until April), some of the year’s biggest bike events including the Tears and Gears Mountain Duathlon, Project 9 and Dirt Diggler Races and the High Roller Mountain Bike Poker Ride, and the ubiquitous Demolition Derby. Towards the end of September, the Fernie Golf Club wrapped up the season with a series of closing events, with the Fernie Half Marathon, 10k and Relay Race and Gillbilly Festival rounded out the month. Whichever events you chose to watch, participate in, or help facilitate, I hope you enjoyed Fernie’s beautiful fall. And now, if I can make a small request (if you are eligible), please vote!