Column: From festival to fair, cause for community celebration!

Council Report by Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison

Everyone loves a fair! Livestock, produce, crafts, entertainment, a parade and so much more.

The Salmon Arm Fair has a long and interesting history. Two centuries ago, in 1897, the first Salmon Arm Fair was held. Much like today, the event was a celebration, bringing community members together to show off livestock, produce and handiwork.

Initially the fair was a one-day event. Exhibits of apples, flowers, vegetables, butter and grain were set up in the hall over McGuire’s store. Athletic events and horse racing were included as part of the festivities.

In 1998, a baseball game between Enderby and Salmon Arm was included.

As time progressed, the fair grew becoming a two, then three-day event. In 1954 the midway was introduced and, by 1957, commercial exhibits were established. During the 1960s, Friday afternoon was declared an official holiday; stores were closed so that employees could attend the fair.

I hope you are able to attend the 127th Salmon Arm Fair Sept. 6, 7 and 8, with the parade heading out from Blackburn Park at 10:40 on Saturday the 7th.

Read more: New attractions, rides and more lined up for Salmon Arm Fair

Read more: Photos: Saturday at the Salmon Arm Fair

Read more: Minter Gardens mastermind to present at Salmon Arm Fall Fair

While there will be so much to see and do, the heart of the fair is in the community coming together to celebrate. This year’s theme is certainly appropriate, “Be Part of the Growth.”

The 27th Annual Roots and Blues Festival was held under clear, smoke-free skies! And what a festival it was. With attendees from near and far, filling our town to hear diverse music from around the world.

The first Roots and Blues Festival was held in 1992, in the Gleneden Hall with only a small crowd of several 100 people attending. Hosted by the not-for-profit Salmon Arm Folk Music Society, it has grown into the largest and most musically diverse Festival in the B.C. Interior.

In 2001, Roots and Blues moved to the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds and became an outdoor festival. Like the fair, the festival has grown over the years, with an attendance of more than 20, 000 who are entertained on four different stages. The festival has developed into a family friendly, environmentally conscious, effectively run event.

Bringing over $5 million dollars annually into Salmon Arm, Roots and Blues has not only become the iconic event in our city, it is also a huge economic generator.

Hats off to all of our volunteers, both those on the SASSLA and Folk Music Society boards, and to those residents who annually step forward to help out. Without you, these events could not happen.

See you at the Fair!


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