One way or another, the Salmon Arm Fair will return for 2021.
Recently, the Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake Agricultural Association announced the city’s historic September exhibition would be returning this year in a familiar format, with animals and exhibitors, a midway with rides, a car show, Shuswap Idol, President’s Choice Superdogs, and much more. This was a significant change from what was announced on June 1, 2021, when fair co-ordinator Jim McEwan issued a media release about the fair returning with a more online orientation.
While McEwan is keen to continue with plans for streaming activities from the fairgrounds during the Sept. 10-12 event, he confirmed the most current plans are for a fair that is open to the public. To what capacity, however, remains to be seen.
“I think we’re seeing a good trend right now,” said McEwen regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in B.C. “We’re very optimistic. But we are, of course, super cautious.”
McEwen recognizes, depending on provincial health orders at the time, the fair could go either way – virtual or with public attendance. He said the province is expected to make an announcement on Aug. 1 regarding fair and exhibition capacities.
“If the provincial health officer at the time says you can have 25 per cent capacity, then we adjust our numbers accordingly,” said McEwen. “I would suspect that all passes, all admissions will be online so that way if we have to do any contact tracing, it will be easy enough to do.”
Regardless of which direction the fair goes, it’s still coming back.
Plans are are in the works for the return of the Salmon Arm Fair parade, expected to kick off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11. McEwen said people have already been calling, looking to secure a spot in the parade.
There will also be a jousting event, with horses, lances, chain mail, the works, said McEwen.
Though the fair was founded on agriculture, technology is playing an increasing part. McEwen said Salmon Arm’s Arc Gaming will be hosting a tournament.
McEwen is planning to live stream fair events like the parade and Superdogs, regardless of what happens come September. He’s also hoping chefs from local restaurants will take part in cooking demonstrations, using local ingredients, that can be shared with people online.
“I think it will just add to the reach and also add to what we’re supposed to do in this community and that is entertain and educate,” said McEwen. “It may not be the same as going to the fair, but at least folks will get something.”
With Armstrong’s IPE not happening this year (as of June 25), and people longing for social interaction and activity after a year-plus of pandemic restrictions, McEwen expects the fair could be very busy. If the Salmon Arm Fair does open the public, McEwen said they will be prepared, with a COVID-19 plan in place and sanitization stations everywhere.
“BC Fairs has some pretty good guidelines on COVID plans, so we’re working with BC Fairs and a couple of the other big fairs in BC on a good COVID plan looks like, what we need to be aware of,” said McEwen.
For more information about the fair, including admission prices, registration for Shuswap Idol and more, visit salmonarmfair.com.
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