Although the recent announcement that the 2020 71st Annual North Thompson Fall Fair and BCRA Rodeo Finals have been postponed until 2021 was not unexpected, it has sent a shock wave not only to the public, but especially to all those who rely so much on what this popular event means to the community of Barriere and the surrounding area.
Our hearts go out to the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association (NTFFRA), it’s Board and their membership. These are some of the most dedicated volunteers you will ever meet. Some of the folks who helped to create the association back in 1949 are still active advocates for it today, as are their families, and their children. They continue into the future with the tradition of volunteering and supporting their NTFFRA or “Fall Fair family” as they like to call it.
Hearing of the postponement of the 2020 event surely did bring a tear to many eyes, but it really was the only decision that the NTFFRA could make to keep this community and the public safe during the pandemic.
Knowing these decisions are made to keep us all safe from COVBID-19 does not make it any easier, especially for the business community that is already taking a massive punch to the gut when it comes down to their ability to survive when income has been severely cut or is virtually nonexistent. Losing the 2020 Fall Fair is a blow to all those businesses who rely on the financial spin-offs from the event, but it also strikes a terrific blow to local service organizations and clubs. It also cuts income from contractors and suppliers who benefit from providing services as needed for the annual event.
Concession booths, plus seasonal employment during the three day fair have historically been the main income for groups such as the Barriere Lions Club, Barriere Search and Rescue, Barriere First Responders, the Barriere Recreation Society, the North Thompson Fish and Game Club Society, Crimestoppers, Rocky Mountain Cadet Corp, seniors organizations, and more. However, we are not alone, this massive loss of income for individuals, community organizations, and businesses is happening all across B.C., Canada, and the world.
As for the NTFFRA, financially they are now faced with almost a zero income for the next 16 months, while still having to keep the lights on and maintain their 27 acre fairground facility. Plus they must also manage to bring together the funding involved to put on the 2021 Labour Day Weekend event. In a recent interview with NTFFRA president Jill Hayward, she said they are facing a tough road ahead, and will be tightening their budget, embracing plenty of creative thinking, and practicing sound decision making so they can “stay afloat in these trying times.”
The North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association is an integral part of our region, not just for entertainment purposes such as the annual Fall Fair and Rodeo, but for all of the other numerous events hosted annually at the fairgrounds that consistently create a major driver in our local economy that cannot be replaced. We wish them well in the year ahead. Stay strong North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo – you are part of our heart.