Barn dancers at the annual Interior Provincial Exhibition in Armstrong can kick up their heels for a longer period.
Armstrong council agreed to a request from the IPE to extend the barn dance on the Friday and Saturday night of the fair to 1:30 a.m.
The dance starts at 9:45 p.m. each night.
“With the event not starting until after the rodeo, which ends between 9:45 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., it would be nice to have the extra 90 minutes from midnight to 1:30 a.m. to enjoy the country barn dance atmosphere,” wrote IPE general manager Bryan Burns.
Council has extended the dance hours to 1 a.m. in the past.
While he didn’t vote on the extension, Mayor Chris Pieper offered his support
He said the IPE has been proactive with its security and in dealing with public complaints about noise.
“When they offered helicopter rides and the public complained because of the noise, they cancelled it,” said Pieper. “Other events around town that have had negative impact on residents, they’ve dealt with it. I’m sure they don’t want to create an issue with the neighbours.”
Coun. John Trainor voted in support of the request because he felt the fair board wouldn’t ask for this extension if they felt it would be a problem for neighbours.
“I think we owe it to them to give them a shot at it this year,” said Trainor. “If people complain, the extension comes up every year and we can change it next year. We should base our decision on what is the board’s own good judgment.”
However, Coun. Ryan Nitchie feels the extra time will bring about complaints, noting the dance is held in an enclosed tent which is not soundproof.
“It’s only an extra half-hour but there is a lot of noise associated with the fair,” he said. “I think allowing the dance to 1 a.m. is reasonable, and while we didn’t receive any complaints last year, I think people were generally happy to go to 1 a.m.”
Council voted by a margin of 4-2 to allow the extra time for the barn dance, with Nitchie and Sully O’Sullivan opposed.