“The best fair ever” came to Barriere this year for the Labour Day weekend. In spite of torrential downpours on Saturday and unsettled weather the rest of the weekend the show did go on and the people came. Mother Nature did her best to put a damper on the 55th Annual North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo but was soundly defeated by avid fair goers and volunteer workers.
The rodeo arena suffered from the abundance of water that continued to pool in front of the grandstand creating a newly named “Barriere Lake” for rodeo fans. Rodeo chairman, Dick Ross, used heavy equipment for two days to try to dry the ring and preserve the footing for the livestock and chuckwagon events. Finding that the tractors were making just as much mud as they were trying to remove, Ross finally called in the big boys.
A team of three heavy horses, owned by the Stutt family of Chu Chua, and driven by Melanie Stutt, were enlisted to drag the harrows around the arena, making no new ruts in the footing and greatly improving the surface. (see picture on page 12)
The Mayor of 100 Mile, Donna Barnett, Mayor of Kamloops, Mel Rothenberger, Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Betty Hinton, representative for MLA Kevin Krueger, Pam Tyler, President of B.C. Fairs, George Tatten, Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce president Bill Kershaw, Barriere United Church Minister Reverend Karen Medland, Fall Fair Royalty Queen Ashlynn Harris and Princess Holly Rose Vesper, and Olympian Erin Gammel assisted in the opening ceremonies which were MC’d by Dave Moncees. The opening ceremony ended with the release of 50 environmentally friendly balloons.
Provincial Minister of Agriculture, John van Dongen, visited the fair and spoke with many area ranchers about the BSE U.S. border problem. Representatives from the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, a
division that spent many weeks in Barriere last summer fighting the wildfires, attended and marched in the parade. A Barriere Search and Rescue member stated that their concession had “the best fair ever”, and the newly featured Logging Show was a very popular venue. Fair organizers say the weekend gate receipts were up by 10 per cent and that overall the fair was definitely a huge success.