EDITORIAL: Armstrong fair bolsters area pride

The Interior Provincial Exhibition has wrapped up for another year, and what an overwhelming success it was.

The Interior Provincial Exhibition has wrapped up for another year, and what an overwhelming success it was.

Over the five days, an impressive 158,238 people attended the Armstrong fair, leaving last year’s attendance figure of 147,932 in the dust.

While many of those came from Armstrong-Spallumcheen, there was significant representation from the rest of the North Okanagan as well as from across B.C. and Alberta.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase our community to those visiting the fair,” said Patti Noonan, Armstrong-Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce executive director.

The out-of-town visitors spend time in motels and campgrounds, shop in  local stores and explore the region, which may bring them back in the future as tourists or potential residents and investors.

Agriculture remains a critical focus of the IPE, whether it’s the livestock or the exhibits of produce, flowers and preservatives. And that is important as it demonstrates the ongoing vitality of farming and its role in the Okanagan’s economy.

But beyond dollars and cents, the fair is all about community pride. It’s Armstrong-Spallumcheen’s time to show off.

“I love seeing people with huge smiles,” said Bryan Burns, IPE general manager.

“There is so much to see and do. To have something like this in the valley is massive. There is nothing else like this in the province.”

None of this happens on its own, and Burns and the IPE staff deserve a lot of praise. But our hats are also off to the dedicated army of volunteers who ensure everything runs smoothly behind the scenes.

The IPE is a North Okanagan tradition that does the entire region proud.

Thanks for this year’s memories and we look forward to 2016.