The award winning North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo has come of age this year! This will be the fairs 65th year, and organizers say the celebration happens on this upcoming Labour Day weekend of Aug. 30, 31, and Sept. 1, in Barriere. B.C.
“We’ve learned a lot in the past 65 years,” says NTFFRA president Jill Hayward, “We’ve learned good cowboy advice such as “don’t squat with your spurs on”, or “don’t corner something that would normally run from you”!
“All kidding aside though, what he have learned most over the years is that volunteers are what keep our organization growing, and it;s those volunteers that make each and every one of our annual fall fair and rodeos the great successes that they have been. We might live, work and play with these folks on a daily basis, or we might not see them all year, but when it’s fair time we all gather together with the same mindset – to produce a memorable family fun event that will keep people wanting to return each year. I am very proud to say that that is exactly what we do.”
Hayward adds that this years event will be ideal for all ages of fairgoers, “Right from little kids to folks who can clame they are 100, we believe this year’s event will deliver plenty of enjoyment and make good memories for them all.”
The big parade will travel through Barriere on Saturday, culminating in the rodeo arena, where opening ceremonies will take place and then be followed by three days of BCRA fast paced rodeo action.
“Stand up and cheer” will be the order of the afternoons as pony chariot and chuckwagon racing will tear up the track during the rodeo performances, as well as trick riders taking their craft to amazing performances during the intermissions.
An outdoor stage has a full line-up of country and western music with Gordie West, Butch Falk, Hugh McLennan, renowned magician Clinton W. Gray, and of course Uncle Chris the Clown, with surprise cameo appearances by talented local entertainers.
Favourites this year will be the Friday night family dance (all ages welcome and alcohol free), the traditional cabaret dance on Saturday night, and the Sunday evening Cowboy Concert, all in the fall fair hall. Don’t miss feature entertainer Eli Barsi singing at the Cowboy Concert, and the well known all girl cowboy band Horse Crazy.
Livestock shows, 4H competitions and Light Horse events will run throughout the weekend as will the heavy horse competitions where the gentle giants show just how much “pull” they have.
The crowd pleasing lawn tractor races will have the dust flying before the rodeo gets underway and the youngsters will find a great assortment of attractions to keep them busy around the indoor picnic area next to the food court.
Make sure you stop in to the North Thompson Agriplex Banquet Hall where you will find a number of interesting vendor displays, and where you will also find a large heritage display regarding the Fall Fair and Rodeo’s 65 years of history. Check out the old photos, memorabilia, and sit down with one of the many scrapbooks and help us identify who the folks are in some of those photos from years gone by.
Those with adventure in their bones can try their hand at the climbing wall, the mechanical bull, the maize for all ages, or kids amusements like bouncy castle, the mechanical swings and ride the train.
The fairgrounds will be filled with games, commercial exhibits, concessions, and exhibit hall that can easily supply an afternoon of entertainment while you learn about the agriculture, lifestyle, and culture that the North Thompson Valley has to offer.
Visitors can sit it in the shade of the companion garden, pat a pony, enjoy an ice cream, participate in a free workshop or meet a 4-H family.
“For three days folks will be able to fully experience the sights, sounds, smells and nostalgia of a real country fair,” says Hayward, “You can pick a carrot fresh from the companion garden, sing along with great musicians, learn about valley heritage, visit with friends, and even feel the wind in your hair as the pony chariots or chuckwagons thunder past. We’re inviting everyone to come to the fair and help us celebrate our 65th event!”