By Logan Thienes, Researcher (Summer 2022)

I returned as a summer Research Assistant for Heritage Saskatchewan this past summer, having worked in the same position in 2022. This year, however, my task was a little different – while last year I evaluated and researched new options for 2021’s Heritage Awards, this year I did the same but for the Heritage Fairs program run by Heritage Saskatchewan. It was a wonderful opportunity and I’d like to share some of what I saw and learned.

The Heritage Fairs are an annual competition where students do original research and present on a heritage-related topic of their choosing. The format is basically similar to science fairs, with the classic trifold display boards and dioramas, just with an emphasis on culture and heritage instead of beakers and volcanoes. One of the people I interviewed as part of my work described them as “like science fairs, but more fun!” In 2022, the fairs ran at multiple levels: school fairs, a province-wide online Virtual Fair (replacing in-person Regional Fairs), and the Provincial Fair. My job was to determine whether the program was operating effectively, and to see where it could be improved.

I am happy to report that the fairs this year were a major success, both in attendance and in my evaluation! Through contacting parents and teachers, reaching out to other heritage fairs across the country, and attending the fairs myself, I was able to determine that Saskatchewan’s fairs are doing great and will hopefully continue for a long time into the future. Through the hard work of Heritage Saskatchewan and the innovation of the Virtual Fair, the Heritage Fairs were able to survive the pandemic and return for a wonderful in-person Provincial Fair at Government House in Regina. While the exact details of future Heritage Fairs are still being determined, I’m glad that I could report this happy news and I hope my recommendations will help make the Heritage Fairs even better.

Putting aside my report, I found something very inspiring while studying the fairs. I helped judge the Virtual Fair and attended the Provincial Fair, and both gave me a chance to see the students’ presentations. It was wonderful to see how their hard work paid off with excellent displays and presentations, as well as recognition for their work at the awards ceremony. But aside from that it was even more inspiring to see the kids interacting and sharing their work with the judges and each other. They were proud of their research and open to sharing it not just with the people running the fair, but with the other kids they were stationed next to – giving them a chance to share their interests and personal connections to their projects. It was great to see a group of students from all over the province come together like that, bringing their unique backgrounds and heritage with them.

And I got a similar feeling talking to Heritage Fairs organisations across the country as part of my research. While many have struggled due to COVID, the common refrain was that the Heritage Fairs are a beloved part of their community and that they hope to continue them into the future, both with local support and through collaboration with other organisations from other provinces and territories. The idea of different fair groups collaborating was also inspiring to me, as I believe this sort of cooperation can help forge new bonds across Canada as well as uplift struggling fairs, allowing them to encourage research and inquiry among their youth so that they can have the same experience as our students had at the Provincial Fair.

Overall, I’m thankful for being given the opportunity to research the Heritage Fairs and I hope my work will help ensure they continue. By giving students a chance to explore heritage in their own way and to share their work with others, Heritage Fairs foster interest in living heritage in both students and the wider community. I’m lucky to have been involved in such a great program, alongside the amazing team at Heritage Saskatchewan, and I wish them the best in the future! Thanks for reading!


For information about the 2023 Heritage Fairs season, contact Katherine Gilks ( and stay tuned for our new Heritage Fairs website!