You could feel the excitement in Armstrong Tuesday as people gathered at the fair grounds to help put the final touches on the 112th IPE.
“There’s a lot of work,” said Sheila Malashewsky, longtime volunteer with the IPE.
“There’s so much to do beforehand.”
It takes two days to get everything set up in the arena, and Malashewsky guessed about 15 hours, which is on top of the time put in prior to setup.
Malashewsky, along with dozens of other volunteers, guided exhibitors inside Hassen Arena, helping fill table after table with baked goods, artwork, crafts and displays.
Many of the volunteers were already wearing their fascinators, a new theme at this year’s IPE, which starts today.
“There was a fascinator meeting, but I couldn’t go, so they made this one for me,” said Malashewsky, holding a swaying Elvis figurine attached to a headpiece.
“He fell off so we’re gluing him back on.”
Malashewsky, a diehard Elvis fan, has entered her Elvis collection into the exhibition this year for the first time.
“It’s the only one in the division,” she said with a smile. “So I’m pretty sure I won.”
Outside the arena West Coast Amusements was busy setting up games, rides and tents.
A little mishap involving a truck colliding with a game tent kept several workers busy for a while, but it didn’t seem to put a damper on the mood at all.
“I love the IPE,” said Wayne Armstrong with West Coast Amusements. Armstrong has been part of the crew at the IPE for 22 years now.
“I come every year, this is one of my favourite fairs.”
Come for a bloomin’ good time is the theme this year, and Malashewsky thinks it is one of the best they’ve had.
“I love the theme. I’ve heard from a lot of people that they’re really excited about it,” she said.
“And the fascinators are cool. I’ve gotten a lot of comments on my Elvis.”
Be sure to bring a fascinator from home to help the IPE record a Guiness World Record. There will also be a fascinator booth on site where people can make their own.
Police presence, as always, will be increased due to the number of people coming to the area.
“Our officers are all set to go. We will have extra officers on duty because of the influx of people coming to the IPE, people coming from all over for the fair,” said Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.
“We want everyone to have a real great time at the fair.”
The IPE officially kicks off tonight at 4:30 p.m. when Lieutenant Governor of B.C. Steven L. Point opens the fair. Gates are open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., today until Sunday.
Check out www.armstrongipe.com for more information.