The Okanagan Valley is a-buzz, as the upcoming Interior Provincial Exhibition is set to hit Armstrong this week.
The honey division wants people to “Catch the Buzz” at the 113th IPE Wednesday to Sunday.
With more than 220 vendors returning, as well as the 4-H demonstrations, West Coast Amusements, Kids World and various entertainment acts, there will be plenty of favourite activities for the thousands who will attend.
“Everyone’s got their favourites, that’s a huge part of us and organizing it,” said Bryan Burns, general manager of the IPE.
As the fair gets closer, the people of Armstrong are ready for the gates to open. But they aren’t the only ones getting excited for the IPE. On a recent trip to Kelowna, Burns witnessed some of the excitement during a conversation in an elevator.
“The majority of the crowd comes from the North Okanagan and South Okanagan. It’s really the valley’s fair, it’s such a big event that attracts people from all over,” said Burns.
So far the weather forecast is calling for mostly sun and cloud for the duration of the fair, so all the IPE team can do is hope that the weather holds out for the entire duration.
“My first couple years I had an issue with weather, but now it is what it is. It doesn’t really affect us too much, people might change the days they come on but they still want to come,” said Burns.
Coming up this year is non-stop fun for the whole family. Activities ranging from amusement rides, live concerts and entertainment, barn tours, baby animals, and even the birth of a baby calf is a possibility.
With the rodeo taking place in the evening, be sure to check out some of the other highlights in the main ring throughout the day. Or you could check out the 4-H shows and the many livestock that will be on display each and every day.
“Our barns will be full, from the chickens to the cows, and from the alpacas to the goat milking,” said Burns.
While Agriculture is the main focus for the IPE, Burns knows the importance of adding new flare each year.
“We want to keep with our traditional roots of agriculture and make sure we have that aspect, that’s why we’re an agriculture fair. But we’re always trying to find new things to add and make it special,” said Burns.
Back for another year is the Iron Chef competition, which has become a major hit in recent years.
The competition will be running twice a day, with the finals going on Sunday.
Some of the new acts and attractions include Xtreme Wild, Charlotte Diamond, Neale Bacon, and Chainsaw Carvers who will be joining the logging show.
“They’re really cool, and they’ll be making things right on site,” said Burns.
Back for a second year are the Trial Stars bike demos who got a bit of a boost after last year, going from two shows per day to three at this year’s IPE.
As a community event, the IPE likes to support local causes, and according to IPE President, Jeanne Noble Harter, while discussing a worthy cause, Huntingtons disease struck a cord with staff.
“We know so many people in Armstrong who have been affected by it so it really hit home for us,” said Harter.
With only a few days before the fair opens anticipation for the fair is growing, both among IPE staff and the patrons that will take to the fair starting Wednesday.
“I think that the closer we get, the more excited people are,” said Harter.
The fair gates open Wednesday morning, with the opening ceremonies happening at the main gate at 4:30 p.m.
For more on the fair, accommodations or ticket information visit www.armstrongipe.com.
There’s also still time to enter The Morning Star’s IPE giveaway. For a chance at two five-day passes to the fair visit the ‘Contest’ section at www.vernonmorningstar.com. The contest closes noon Monday.