The hot weather this summer hasn’t been great for the forests, but it has been perfect for vegetables and flowers, if fair entries are any indication.
“Last year there were 420 exhibits in the vegetable division and this year there’s 570,” says 2017 Salmon Arm Fair assistant co-ordinator Mark Higginbottom, “and the flowers are up 15 per cent.”
They’re also seeing a huge number of new exhibitors, about 150, and a number of those are in the pre-school age group (up 30 per cent) and increased family participation trend this year.
“You see, the young people are carrying the torch. The fair has deep roots in the community,” says 2017 fair co-ordinator Ronnalee McMahon.
Other categories proving popular this year are the Lego division (almost double from last year) and 4H horse show. Overall, the increase of exhibits is about 10 per cent.
As the fair is celebrating its 120th anniversary, this year promises to be a spectacular one for sheer entertainment value.
“We are really showcasing great B.C. talent,” says entertainment co-ordinator Lori Risling. “We have the most variety we’ve ever had and we’re showcasing the most award-winning artists we’ve ever had.”
The main stage will feature talent like Dirt Road Opera, Jesse Mast, Elvis impersonator Adam Fitzpatrick, Dale Seaman and Highway 97, and local favourites Blu &Kelly Hopkins, Barn Cats, Seal Skull Hammer, and former Shuswap Idol contestants.
McMahon says there are several new attractions, including a Sip and Savour event, which showcases local beer, wine, and food artisans.
“The fair has a huge role to play in showcasing farmers who provide food that goes on our tables,” says McMahon.
With so many more entries, increased attendance is anticipated. The doors open at 9.a.m. Friday. The first of the SuperDogs shows, a canine comedy, kicks off at noon, with additional shows at 2:30 and 5 p.m., as well as shows on Saturday and Sunday. Chuckwagon races start at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.
From noon onwards on Friday there’s lots of entertainment at the main stage, including a magician at 5:45 p.m. and Elvis (aka Adam Fitzpatrick) at 6.
If you go through the door before 5 p.m. on Friday, the one-day pass is only $5 instead of $11.
The parade, as usual, will be one of Saturday’s highlights. It starts at 10:45 a.m. The theme for the parade and fair is “Something to Crow About.”
Fairgoers will also appreciate the food choices this year. Besides the usual favourites, there will be some healthier options including wood-fire pizza.
And going down Memory Lane there will be more than exhibits this year – check out the old saloon-style card games.
“It will be like the old days, card games in the back,” says Higginbottom, “but no gambling.”
Higginbottom encourages everyone to take their time to enjoy the exhibits.
“The fair brings everything Salmon Arm and the area have to offer – gardens, entertainment, animals. It’s who we are. Everyone is showing what they can do, you see the community you’re a part of.”