What a great weekend for the 64th annual North Thompson Fall Fair & Rodeo! We had great weather all through the fair and a good number of visitors that came to enjoy the fair, rodeo and the parade. I only got to see the parade spectators but the pictures show some great effort put into the floats this year. A big round of applause for all the younger folk for getting your parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, older siblings and friends out to watch the parade. For parade participants seeing happy people makes all the hard work of putting an entry together worthwhile.
All of council and district staff that were not working over the weekend were involved in the fair in one way or another. They joined the dozens of volunteers that join together each year to put on the fair and rodeo. Unlike other events, that have paid staff and a board of directors that draw a stipend, the North Thompson Fall Fair & Rodeo is for the most part made possible through the hard work of volunteers. For 64 years the NTFF&R Association has put together one of the premiere agriculture events in the province. The level of coordination throughout the event is consistently outstanding and the enthusiasm of the volunteers grows year over year.
Other communities have seen their events wither and die. This is due mostly to the people that make them happen, either by moving away or getting to the age that they are simply not able to carry out the many tasks involved. The reality is that there is no magic involved in putting on an event like the fall fair. It is simply a combination of good planning and hard work. Hard work that needs to be shared, and shared by a great number of like minded people. Agricultural fairs give those of us that are not ranchers or farmers a chance to see up close the results of thousands of hours of hard work. The people that work all year long to raise crops and take care of livestock are the ones volunteering their time at the fair to showcase the agriculture lifestyle. We all owe them a vote of thanks.
The fall fair is a chance to see the 4H club members and other entrants that have worked hard show off what they know and have done. A great deal of learning comes out of preparing for the fair, and it is an important time of the year for those that live and work in the agriculture industry. For the 4H clubs, the fair allows for competition in a setting that is meant to be fun and not all about winning.
I am going to address something here that is sure to come up. It is around my previous statement of “and the enthusiasm of the volunteers grows year over year.” Some may say this is not true. It is my belief, though, that they are mistaking the level of enthusiasm with the number of volunteers. The number of those that come forth to volunteer is shrinking each year, yet the need continues to grow. Those that do step up to the plate are exceptionally enthusiastic and that is what keeps them coming back and doing a tremendous job.
Volunteers are a precious resource in any community. Volunteers make the fall fair happen. Volunteers coach our sports teams and guide the 4H and other youth organizations. In small communities the Search and Rescue and fire department are volunteer organizations. Like other volunteers, they do the job because they know they will be providing a valuable service. We need to respect the work of all our volunteers and support them in their efforts. If we lose sight of this, nothing good will happen. Recently, all the members of a volunteer fire department quit in support of their chief who was suspended over his efforts to make sure his people were doing the work they volunteered for, and were trained for a task best done by others.
An extreme example of a local government losing sight of the role of volunteers, and the respect they should be shown. Certainly one best not repeated.