The wildly popular Interior Provincial Exhibition (IPE) and Stampede in the North Okanagan has been cancelled, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The five-day-long fair, planned for Sept. 2, is held annually in the Spallumcheen and Armstrong districts. It was supposed to be the 121st annual event.
Upwards of 150,000 visitors attended the fair in 2019. Primarily B.C. and Alberta residents flock to the fair, but international visitors are known to attend as well.
The major event, which contributes $6.2 million to the local economy, celebrates rural and agricultural experiences for people of all ages.
The fair includes parades, competitions, interactive displays and the rodeo.
General manager Yvonne Paulson says the board of directors decided to cancel the 2020 fair in the name of public health and safety.
“Considering present circumstances, this decision was unavoidable,” Paulson said in a media release.
Paulson thanked the event’s donors, sponsors, volunteers, exhibitors and patrons and said work is already underway for next year’s fair with new public health standards in place.
“From its earliest beginnings in 1899, the Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede has provided opportunities for people to gather for enjoyment and learning,” she said.
“As we adapt in the face of a global emergency, we will continue in this community spirit.”
This is not the first time the Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede has been cancelled.
In 1905, the Armstrong Spallumcheen Agricultural Fair decided to cancel their fair and participate in the Dominion Fair, being held in New Westminster, B.C.
Armstrong took third place in district exhibits that year.
The IPE is resilient and will “forge on”, Paulson said. “Our Roots Run Deep!”
More information about the fair can be found here.
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