In 1943, the Lakes District Fall Fair opened its gates for the first time.
Over the past 74 years, the fair has been held in a variety of locations in the Lakes District area including Francois Lake, the old Civic Centre in Burns Lake, and since 1988 at our present home at Eagle Creek.
In 2010, we had 1178 people attend our three-day event. This year, in 2017, we had 2300 people come through our gates. With such steady growth in our cattle show, small animal barn, exhibit hall and heavy horse pull, we can no longer be considered a small town country fair.
This year we hosted twenty two purebred livestock breeders with a total of eight two purebred cattle that came from as far away as Quesnel to the south and Haida Gwaii to the west and included many breeders along Hwy. 16.
Each year more of our local cattle producers are purchasing their breeding stock through the breeders that attend our fair, which helps with our economy as well. We had heavy horse teams travelling from Dawson Creek, Quesnel, Prince George and Vanderhoof to make us one of the largest pulls in the province of B.C. this year. The heavy horses have always been a big draw for the fair on Sunday afternoon.
In the small animal barn, the number of sheep competitors is continuing to grow with a promise of even more competitors and breeds next year. As always, the goats, rabbits, chickens and ducks are a big hit and we were very proud to have forty new cages to house these animals in.
Of course the children’s festival is a huge draw for kids and adults alike. Ten years ago, when the children’s festival first began, there were approximately 50 children in attendance. This year in 2017, 799 children were registered with many more attending without stopping to register.
With over 326 volunteers assisting during this year’s fair, 73 were dedicated alone to the children’s festival. With the wide variety of activities being offered at the children’s festival such as the pet show, the hammer tent, bouncy castle, face painting, wow bus and all new this year, battle balls and the Okanagan world of reptiles, just to mention a few, many volunteers are required.
Each year on Friday evening, which is the first day of the Lakes District Fall Fair, teen night is the big attraction, kicking off with Burns Lake idol and finishing up with the teen dance. This year 150 teens registered with many more attending.
Once again this year we offered helicopter rides on Saturday at a reduced price. This event is extremely popular and helps bring many people through the Lakes District Fall Fair gates.
The music festival is always a hit with everyone attending the fair. Many people like to pull up a chair and enjoy hours of the music while others listen as they move around the fair grounds taking in all the sights. It would be my guess that the music is really appreciated by the numerous vendors that have set up as well.
2017 was the second year we offered lawn mower races and we are very happy to say that this event is growing bigger and becoming more popular. Once again it is our volunteers that help make this event a success.
The Southside 4-H club has continued to be a big part of the fall fair and hopefully next year the North Side 4‐H club will be in a position to display and demonstrate some of their achievements as well. Each year along with exhibiting their cattle, sheep and swine, clothing and small engines are also judged during the fair. The 4-H auction is a big attraction with many people bidding on the items being auctioned off from steer, lamb, swine and windsocks.
The fall fair committee and executive, who consist of eighteen members, work very hard all year long to produce the Fair but it is our long list of volunteers that make our dreams a reality. Without the assistance of our volunteers to help set up the exhibit hall, maintain the roads and camping areas, move the shavings into the barns, set up the tents, and of course aid in the prep work and functions of our concession, just to name a few, the Lakes District Fall Fair simply could not continue to put on this rapidly growing event.
Expanding the events
Each year our strategy is to expand the events offered during the three days of the Fair. We are working to incorporate new ideas into the schedule each year in the hope that we can reach more and more people. We are working with the First Nations in various aspects in the hopes that we will have more activities of interest to bring them to the fair. Demonstrations of beadwork, drum making and carvings are of interest to all people and help to integrate cultures. A shuttle bus is offered for rides to and from Burns Lake as well as a service from the Southside. This seems to be working well and offering assistance with transportation brings families that otherwise would be unable to attend.
Fall fair continuously growing
The Lakes District Fall Fair is a continuously growing and successful event that takes place the first weekend after Labour Day. We are very proud of our fair but in reality without the dedication and hard work of all our volunteers and wonderful support from our community both financially and in kind we would be unable to host this annual event. It is very obvious that the good people of the Lakes District and surrounding areas take enormous pride and ownership in our fair and that is the secret to our success.
Without all of you, the fair would not be able to continue and flourish the way it has. Remember, “it’s a family affair.”