History was made in Barriere the weekend of September 23 – 26 when the Provincial Winter Fair (PWF) held its 73rd annual event in the newly constructed North Thompson Agriplex.
Members of the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association (NTFFRA), as well as the association’s North Thompson Agriplex Committee, put numerous long days, and expended a tremendous number of volunteer hours to have everything spic and span, and ready for the PWF to move into. They truly rolled out the welcome mat at their facility for PWF and all the 4-H members and families who attended the event.
The Star/Journal interviewed NTFFRA acting president Jill Hayward, and asked her why the NTFFRA facility had been offered to PWF at no cost for the 2011 event?
“Our members felt that due to the loss of PWF’s KXA facility in Kamloops, the financial situation of their organization, and the very real possibility that the PWF may not be able to hold a 2011 event, a vote was made to extend a helping hand to give their organization a chance to get back on its feet,” said Hayward, “At that time though, none of us imagined we would have the Agriplex up and ready to go. That has been an added plus for PWF, and it has been an excellent venue to showcase 4-H youth in the Interior of B.C.”
Although some in the PWF organization were not in favour of the move to Barriere; fearing the fair may not be supported, or that the last day of the event’s PWF Lamb and Beef Auction may not be successful, the membership did vote to come to Barriere, and the success of this year’s event and auction sale has reinforced their confidence in that decision.
“This is an awesome facility,” said one 4-H parent, “This is so much better than what we had in Kamloops, we really hope it will come back here, and even stay here. Why would we want to try and build something from scratch or go back to using tents?”
But will the PWF return to Barriere?
“This is really a great building,” said PWF president Dave Arduini, “The North Thompson Fall Fair has gone all out to make us welcome, but at this time we don’t know where we will be holding next year’s event.”
Hayward says if PWF wants to hold their event in Barriere next year she encourages them to book the dates as soon as possible. “We are receiving a lot of inquiries from various organizations who want to hold future events in the North Thompson Agriplex,” said Hayward, “And it looks like September is going to be a very popular time slot.”
Hayward says the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association was started over 63 years ago to give the area’s 4-H youngsters somewhere to show their project animals. “Today we are still in the business of kids and 4-H, “ said Hayward, “4-H teaches family values, life skills, food sustainability, and an inherent ability to lead and move forward. The NTFFRA and the PWF are two strong organizations, and we both seem to have the success of the 4-H program and our youth as a common goal. I would hope that PWF will return on a permanent basis. After all, it really is about the kids.”