Wesley Fair: supporting the community for 105 years
For 105 years, Wesley Fair has been at the heart of the Wesley Mission calendar, and the heart of the community. The long standing event has changed spectacularly over more than a century, but the fundraising efforts and tireless support from volunteers have remained a constant.
From humble beginnings in 1913 and known then as the Spring Fair, the Ladies’ Auxiliary Committee of the then Central Methodist Mission created a fair with unknown belief of its potential longevity. It quickly became an annual tradition, and flourished to become a popular city event held in the lower hall of Sydney Town Hall.
The initial one day fundraiser grew to a three day event under the superintendency of the Rev Alan Walker and his wife, Win Walker. Fast forward to 1966, and the fair moved on-site to the Wesley Centre after the premises were rebuilt offering more capacity and space for stalls, entertainment and the all-important cake competitions.
Homemade treats are cherished and enjoyed annually at the fairs, and were particularly important during the 1960s popular cake competitions, alongside apron competitions (Spring Apron, Practical Apron and Barbeque Apron categories to name a few), as well as doll competitions (Best Dressed Doll, Best Bride Doll and Best Rag Doll all judged for in 1963). Offering a broad range of attractive and creative competitions proved a major key to success in previous decades.
A catalyst for development came in the early 1980s when Mrs Beverley Moyes, wife of then Superintendent Rev Gordon Moyes, lead Spring Fair for 17 years, growing to attract around 10,000 people annually.
From flower-arranging and cookery classes, to live entertainment and face-painting for children, entertainment for the whole family has allowed for a thoroughly enjoyable day for all tastes. In 2006, the name Spring Fair changed to Wesley Fair, and has flourished under the leadership from current Chair of the Wesley Fair committee, Mrs Carol Garner, wife of the Rev Keith Garner.
The fair brings together Wesley Mission staff, volunteers and congregation, who fundraise annually for causes close to the community. Proceeds raised from the day are used to continue the life changing work of Wesley Mission, and this year all funds will go to support Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge, providing crisis accommodation for individuals experiencing homelessness in Sydney. The Centre offers safe and secure single rooms, plus access to a range of practical services and support to help individuals get back on their feet.
Through the tireless effort of those who give up their time and talents to bring this event to life each year, Wesley Fair continues a great 105-year-old tradition and holds its special place in the life of Wesley Mission today.
For more information about Wesley Fair, and to learn how you can volunteer, please contact [email protected] or call 9263 5432 to register.