Seventy years of the Lakes District Fall Fair and Music Festival has seen the local celebration of farming, livestock, horses, riders, and the people that bring them all together, grow into an event that can barely be contained over two and a half days.
Richard Cannon, president of the Lakes District Fall Fair association was very happy with this year’s turn-out, but he wasn’t surprised with the fair’s continued growth.
“The last several fairs have been very good, they continue to grow each year and attendance continues to climb,” Cannon said. “We had about 2400 people attend the fair this year, and it takes about 200 volunteers every day to run the fair.”
Joan McFee, director, Lakes District Fall Fair Association, described the growth in terms of a relatively new addition to the fair, the children’s festival.
In 2009, the year of the first children’s festival portion of the fair grounds, 30 children participated. By 2012, more than 400 children registered, and 2013 had a similar number of children register for events.
McFee said that the success of the fair is a credit to the many volunteers involved year-round to make sure the event is well-organized, and a credit to the great sponsorship the fair receives from the local community.
The music festival portion has been running for about 8 years, and has become a force on its own.
Sandra and John Barth, acting as Lakes District Arts Council volunteers on the fall fair committee and organizers of the music festival, said that finding musicians and performers hasn’t been a problem in the time they’ve been involved.
“We generally have little problem getting performers to agree to play at the fair,” said John. “It is a popular gig. Some performers contact us well before the Fair to get on the list.”
For this year’s fair, there were several new segments and shows. Two mechanical bulls, one for children and the other for youth and adults, had constant line-ups.
A ‘mom’s tent’ was hosted by the College of New Caledonia where mothers could bring the children for needed quiet time.
A heritage tea organized by the Burns Lake Seniors Society gave people a place to get out of the sun and enjoy a civilized cup of tea.
The Northern Country Girls Drill Team came from Vanderhoof and provided an afternoon of show riding and a closing event at the Eagle Creek stampede grounds and main arena.
The busy on-site camp grounds were improved with recently upgraded water systems.
“The United Way fire truck pull drew a lot of people through the gate,” McFee added. “The United Way team was surprised at the support in Burns Lake. They said we equalled Prince George in terms of fund raising and team participation.”
As the fair grows and events and performers are added, fall fair committee members are back on the job right on the heels of the fair’s Sunday finale.
The fall fair committee has about 18 active members who work with an extended network of volunteers to plan the annual events.
The first meeting of the fall fair committee has already passed, but the annual general meeting will be held on Oct. 17. Anyone considering volunteering could come to that meeting, or contact any of the committee members.