The 60th holding of the North Thompson Fall Fair is now history.
This annual Labour Day weekend event, presented each year by the volunteers and members of the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association, truly did sparkle for their diamond anniversary.
The town of Barriere started to buzz many days before the event as convenors, exhibitors, participants, and fair goers arrived to stay in the community.
Local accommodations were bulging and even the dry camping on the lot at the fairgrounds saw a record number of campers and RV’s over the weekend.
NTFFRA president Jill Hayward reported that the fair’s first year of offering a free shuttle for community members to avoid parking hassles was slow to get started, but by the second day it was on it’s way.
“We’ll definitely be looking at adding the shuttle again next year, with longer hours to accommodate those who want to stay to the end of the day’s events,” said Hayward, “Each year the fair grows and with it a need for parking space. The shuttle is certainly one of the answers.”
Asked if fair attendance peaked this year Hayward stated, “From all appearances we think Saturday was a record gate but we still need to give our treasurer a chance to tally everything up. Sunday was very busy, and even with the rain on Monday morning the fairgrounds were busy throughout the day. I think it’s pretty safe to say we had a very successful attendance this year.”
The parade on Saturday morning was led by members of the Barriere RCMP Detachment, while close behind them the B.C. Regimental Marching Band, out of Vancouver, provided a wonderful repertoire of marching music and tunes for the spectators. Once at the fairgrounds the Band then played for the spectators in the rodeo grandstands, played in the outdoor beer garden, and at many other areas of the fairgrounds. The Band also made a special presentation during a luncheon held for past royalty of the fair, and then attended the Barriere Legion for an evening performance as well.
Retired fall fair queens were honoured during the parade, with 11 ladies riding on a special ‘retired royalty’ float; who were then introduced to the crowd at the rodeo arena. The first Fall Fair Queen of 1950, Sylvia Sheaves, attended, travelling from Vancouver to ride in the parade and say a few words in opening the 2009 event. Also, on the float were queens from 1955 Carol (Bigham) Scott, 1958 Rozanne (Genier) Shannon, 1963 Alice (Leavitt) Scott, 1964 Barbara (Salle) Gair, 1966 Bev (Fennell) Fraser, 1967 Anne (Stewart) Carmichael, 1972 Connie (Irving) Falk, 1973 Angela (Proulx) Trenholm, 1976 Sharon Price, and 1991 Elizabeth (Schilling) Ekin.
Hayward said a special part of the Fair’s 60th anniversary celebration was the free draw held each day of the fair for a platinum diamond necklace, valued at over $1,500 each, and kindly donated by sponsor Cascadia Pacific Realty Ltd. Saturday’s winner of the draw was Evan and Tracey Fentiman from 100 Mile House, who were attending the fair with their family to exhibit goats and compete in 4H events. Sunday’s winner was Sebastian LaCroix of Vernon, and Monday’s winner was Stef Fennell from Barriere.
Magician Clinton Gray wowed both adults and children alike with his giant rabbit and amazing feats of magic on the outdoor stage and in the exhibit hall. Uncle Chris the Clown kept all of the kids laughing, and joined in the fun for the Children’s Parade as well.
Other outdoor stage entertainers such as the Barriere Cloggers, the Old Time Fiddlers, Gordie West and Mike Puhallo kept a full slate of top entertainment and toe tapping going on.
Hayward commented that many of the commercial food vendors noted an increase in sales over previous years during the fair; some had to order in more supplies to keep up with the demand.
She also stated that one of the NTFFRA Pageant 50/50 draw winners took home over $2,600.
“We had an absolutely awesome fair,” said Hayward, “Everyone who helped to make it happen gave 200 per cent of their time and effort to make this the great event that it was. They all deserve a special thank you – they are the best.”
north thompson star/journal
Published: September 14, 2009 5:00 AM