The Sinixt Nation is welcoming everyone out to their fairgrounds in Vallican to take part in the ninth annual Barter Fair.
The three-day event, from September 20 to 22, features live entertainment, kid’s activities and an opportunity to buy and trade in the vendor village.
“It’s very unique because it’s not commercialized in any way. Admission is by donation and nobody is turned away,” explained Sara Zacks, one of many volunteer organizers for the fair.
There will be a stage set up on the fairgrounds with live music Friday night and throughout the day Saturday. Headlining on Friday is local favourite Adam Shaikh, along with Barefoot Caravan from Armstrong and Mr. Fantasktic from Vancouver. Highlights from Saturday’s lineup include Seattle’s Adrian Xavier, Vacouver’s Buckman Coe and Nelson DJ Yan Zombie.
There’s also plenty to keep youngsters entertained, including workshops, storytelling, sock horse making and the famous sock horse race.
And, of course, there will be lots of bartering going on.
“Anyone who comes is welcome to put a blanket out and vend or barter, there’s a real focus on creating an alternate economy,” Zacks said.
In the vendors village you’ll find a mix of established artisans who regularly sell their wares at market, alongside people who have brought vegetables from their garden or used sports equipment to trade. The Sinixt will have their smokehouse running and will be selling a variety of prepared food items, including their popular Indian tacos made on traditional fried bread.
If you don’t have items to barter, vendors do accept cash.
“The Barter Fair is a great time to come and interact with the Sinixt. It’s a time when they really welcome everyone to come and be on the Sinixt Fairgrounds and check in with what’s currently going on with the Sinixt,” Zacks said, noting some of the key issues of concern for the Sinixt include protecting Perry Ridge and re-establishing themselves on their traditional territory in the Slocan Valley.
“Right now ‘Sinixt’ isn’t a real common, household name,” Zacks added. “There’s a real need for understanding about who the Sinixt are — their role here.”
The third day of the festival, Sunday, September 22, is dedicated to “Rivers Day” and will include workshops and speakers focused on the welfare of the Slocan River, which runs alongside the fairgrounds.
The Sinixt Fairgrounds is located at 4120 Passmore Lower Road in Vallican. Signs will be posted along Highway 6 in the Slocan Valley. Admission is by donation ($20 recommended per adult; kids free). All proceeds go to supporting the sovereignty of the Sinixt Nation.