Back in 1950, what had been a dream for local farm and ranch families became a reality. The Native Sons of Canada lent their Louis Creek grounds and hall for the first fall fair which was held on Labour Day. The fall fair entry catalogue had just 12 pages, and promised: “To make your Labour Day a real holiday, a full round of entertainment during the day and evening is assured”. An estimated 500 people attended that first fair.
Len Johnson, the first fair manager, made the following statement 67 years ago, “For a fair to be a success, it must first be centered in a farming district, and secondly, it must have the support of the people of the community”.
Len’s words have rung true Fueled by outstanding volunteerism since its inception, the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo (NTFFR) has steadily evolved and expanded. The location has changed, and so have many of the faces, although many remain, and familiar family names continue to support the NTFFR. After 65 years the focus is the same as it was back in 1950: “A celebration of agriculture, livestock, western country living and community spirit”
The North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo is still going strong and is one of the leading regional events within the Thompson Nicola Regional District.
The mission statement of the organization is: To encourage, develop and promote the advancement of agriculture and farm living in the North Thompson Valley, with special reference to the fostering of livestock, crops, orchard crops, poultry husbandries, industrial, commercial, educational, mechanical and household arts, and rural and urban young peoples organizations, 4-H competitions, livestock competitions, fine arts, sewing and baking, gardening, bee keeping, and volunteerism at its finest.
The NTFFRA functions with a volunteer Board of Directors along with an additional 100-150 dedicated community volunteers Facility enhancements and upgrades are in almost all instances completed by volunteers.
Notably, in March of 2011 the NTFFRA embraced a vision of constructing the North Thompson Agriplex; a multi-use agricultural facility to serve the region and beyond. In less than six months, thanks to volunteers, businesses, contractors, supporters and sponsors the building was erected and able to host the 62nd Fall Fair and Rodeo. Most importantly, the community and regional buy-in to the project was phenomenal. Thanks to cash donations, fundraisers and tremendous in-kind donations by hundreds of businesses and contractors the North Thompson Agriplex is now a major economic driver for our region.
The fall fair facility holds on average over 125 events annually; serving local, regional, and provincial needs. The public demonstrates a willingness to participate in activities at the facility, not just seasonally, but throughout the year; and with the addition of the North Thompson Agriplex the number of events has already started to rise significantly.
The NTFFRA recognizes, that with continued positive growth and expansion within the facility, that the direct economic growth to the community of Barriere and the surrounding area remains immediate and significant.
The dream that was started 70 years ago lives on today, because of unending community spirit and the hard-working dedicated volunteers who continue to make it all happen.