71st annual Fall Fair to be recognized with Drive Thru event at fairgrounds in Barriere

It’s been 71 years since the first North Thompson Fall Fair was held on the September Labour Day Weekend at the Native Sons of Canada Hall in Louis Creek (a property known in more recent years as the Tolko Louis Creek Mill, and since 2004 as the Louis Creek Industrial Park). The property cost $50 to rent for the first Fall Fair one day event, and a 12 page Fall Fair catalogue promised: “To make your Labour Day a real holiday, a full round of entertainment during the day and evening is assured.” There was a parade, baseball tournament to decide the winner for the Valley Cup Finals, games, a concession, exhibit hall, and a dance in the evening. Five hundred people attended that first event, an event which has continued and grown expotentially over the past 71 years.

In 1969 the Fall Fair moved it’s base from Louis Creek to the heart of Barriere. Today the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association’s (NTFFRA) fairgrounds is a 27 acre multi-use facility. In 1973 the first Fall Fair rodeo was held at the fairgrounds. In 2012 the North Thompson Agriplex became a reality, thanks to donations and commitment from NTFFRA supporters. In 2018 and 2019 the annual Fall Fair hosted the British Columbia Rodeo Association’s provincial championship finals, and the Finals were booked again for 2020.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant social distancing guidelines the annual North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo event for 2020 had to be canceled. This cancellation has put a gigantic financial strain on the organization, plus curtailed the ability to hold large events throughout the year which helps to maintain their fairgrounds facility.

NTFFRA say they are struggling to keep the facility maintained and the utilities paid, but the board and many of the members have stepped up to help create income during this time, and thanks to caring supporters of the organization a few generous donations have been made. Fundraisers, although small in scale, have also helped. Fresh fruit and vegetable sales, a 50/50 raffle, a drive in Cowboy Church, and the completion of a flotilla of grant applications (with some being successful) are just a small part of the undertakings that the NTFFRA has taken on to help stay afloat and keep the fairgounds open.

As the annual Labour Day Weekend started to arrive, the NTFFRA say they felt it was extremely important to mark the 71st year of their Fall Fair event, and in doing so they will also able to show the Barriere community and surrounding region that “the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association is still here, and are planning to be around for another 71 years at least!”

Everyone is invited to join them on Saturday, Sept. 5, by participating in the 71st North Thompson Fall Fair celebration Drive Thru Event at the facility. There will be numerous displays and activities to enjoy from your vehicle, with special entertainment from well known country music singer Gordie West, Uncle Chris The Clown, the Laughing Logger Lumberjack Show, Goat Agility, Horses In Harness, and much more.

Find more information on page 7 of this issue. Check them out on Facebook: North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association, or go to: www.fallfair-rodeo.com

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