After a two-year absence, the Nechako Valley Exhibition is back on schedule.
The 54th Summer Show will be held from August 19th to 21st at the Northside Road Showgrounds. But despite COVID shutting down the event for the past two years, organizers have not been idle.
“We ran a number of alternative events. To keep activities going for the community but in line with the province’s health mandates,” said Carolyn Leigh, executive director of the exhibition company. “So we’ve had a few smaller events in August over the last two years, but we haven’t had a traditional three-day exhibition format since 2019.
Leigh says it’s been tough getting through the last two years, but everyone involved is happy to be back on track. “We’re really excited to get back to doing what we know and love,” she said.
Leigh said many of her favorite events, like the Draft Horse and Light Horse events, will be back, but they’ve also added a few new events to the schedule.
“We have lawn mower races for the first time this year. We’re pretty excited about that,” Leigh said, adding that there’s also a Farm Hands Challenge with new obstacles, as well as an expanded Draft Horse Train with the highest payout ever.
“We’re hoping to get the giants of the draft horse world to come and try,” Leigh said, adding that there’s room for people to pull themselves in the tractor pull, too.
“This is an event that we started a few years ago. We thought it was just some kind of fun event. And sponsors have been piling up, which has been great,” Leigh said, adding that the Taylor Brothers Home Hardware is sponsoring all of the prize money, which totals $1,000. “So the top three teams can donate that money to a local charity of their choice.”
The main goal, Leigh said, is to give the community three days to get together and have a lot of fun.
“Just come out and have a laugh and be together,” Leigh said. In recent years, she continued, people have been heard expressing their disappointment at the exhibition’s cancellation.
“Many people in this city grew up with the fair. Ever since they were little … they would come up and enjoy the horse events or they would like to go to the small animal pen and see all the animals,” she said. “Many people have first memories of growing fruit or vegetables for the exhibition building.
“So, people really missed it a lot. There was a lot of sadness in the community when we couldn’t direct it. And since we started promoting the show heavily and really getting back on board, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of community support, both from individuals and local businesses.
“I think it’s been kind of a missing component in people’s lives in recent years.”