The 113th annual Interior Provincial Exhibition is being declared an overwhelming success.
By the time the midway lights were dimmed Sunday night, 150,170 people had passed through the gates during the five days of the Armstrong fair.
“Once the gates closed Sunday, 150,170 people had attended the 113th event over five days.
“It’s our third best year,” said Bryan Burns, general manager.
“Sunday was a really big day — 40,000 people.”
About 153,853 people attended the fair in 2011 and the record of 159,734 was set in 2010.
North Okanagan residents made up the majority of the people on site, but there was also strong representation from Kelowna, the rest of the Interior and Alberta.
Burns believes people were drawn to the IPE this year because of the focus on agriculture, as well as popular activities like the midway.
The West Coast Lumberjack Show also drew them in.
“People want shows like that and we added new ones, like Xtreme Wild, and they were flocking to them too,” said Burns.
The grandstand was jammed most nights for the Canadian professional rodeo.
“The rodeo was one of the best ever. We had most of the top cowboys in North America and they put on a great show,” said Burns.
Between livestock, produce, baking and crafts, there were 7,000 entries on exhibit during the event.
Burns is pleased with the steady feedback he received from people.
“There were lots of great comments about how clean the grounds were and our cadets deserve credit for that.”
He believes everything went as expected, but he admits there is always room for improvement and the goal is to make next year’s IPE the best in terms of organization.
“We’ve started that process already. We’ve already had meetings,” he said of planning.
“We’re constantly striving to make things better.”
Much of the success of the fair is a direct result of community participation behind the scenes.
The IPE has 450 volunteers itself and then numerous non-profit groups have volunteers helping out at their exhibits or concession booths.
“The amount of volunteer hours is fantastic,” said Burns.
“Most of them take a week’s holidays or more and the team effort is terrific.”