Katherine Gilks, Projects Coordinator
The 2020 Virtual Heritage Fair -- Saskatchewan's first-ever Virtual Heritage Fair -- has been an overall success. We may have finished the judging and announced the winners, but the projects are still up for viewing! We will have them on our website for the summer, so we strongly encourage everyone to share them with family and friends. These stories are heartwarming, funny, heartbreaking, inspiring, and informative. They are a great way to learn or re-learn about our heritage.
Congratulations once again to all of the students! You all did great work. We learned a lot. It was especially poignant to read projects about family history and beloved relatives. It was also fascinating to watch/read projects on the current COVID-19 crisis. But every project had an impact on different viewers and judges. Every topic was interesting and the passion and research that went into these projects are very evident.
This year, the Virtual Heritage Fair was a surprise, albeit a welcome one. Heritage Saskatchewan, the regional committees, teachers, and students had prepared for a regular Heritage Fairs season. The students were finished or partly finished projects that they had intended to present to judges in person. We were not sure what response we would get for a virtual fair or what our website would look like to host it. And then there were many students who did not realise that they were going to have the opportunity to do a Heritage Fair project this year! Everything came together for this wonderful event and we are thankful for all of the support and patience from everyone involved.
Nonetheless, we missed the regular Heritage Fairs. We absolutely want to continue with them in the future and hopefully we can make them work in 2021.
We will keep a virtual aspect to the Heritage Fairs program moving ahead. It will be a province-wide contest that will be separate from the Regional Heritage Fairs and Provincial Heritage Fair, with its own judging and awards. Unlike this year, the process will be more structured. Heritage Saskatchewan will be putting the contest together over this summer/fall and more information will be forthcoming at that time.
Over the course of the Virtual Heritage Fair, I was asked if I had any favourite projects. What stood out for me? Which ones would I recommend to viewers who didn't have time to look at all of them? I had a hard time with that question. Short of giving my reaction to each project in great detail, they all appealed to me differently. Most importantly, each project reminded me of why we were doing the Virtual Heritage Fair.
Some of the projects include videos, where the students' strong passion, nervousness, technological know-how, artistic skills, etc. are on full display. Some of the projects are mainly written reports or PowerPoint presentations. Even those that are only photos are intriguing.
It was exciting to see the enthusiasm from students, parents, and teachers, especially from schools that were participating for the first time. The Virtual Heritage Fair has been an opportunity for more students to showcase their work, since there are no limits per school and students can participate at will. It also provides opportunities for students to use different media, such as creating websites.
We are already looking forward to next year and how we can continue to bring this program to our students, schools, and communities while being conscious of everyone's health, wellbeing, and safety.
Once again, thank you and congratulations!
(here are just three of the 295 projects)