Sunday, March 30, 2008

The History of the North Peace Fall Fair Society

The first agricultural fair in the North Peace was held where the Robert Ogilvie School now stands in 1929. The next year the fair was held at the Carmichael place 1 ½ miles west of North Pine. There is a picture on page 283 the “Peacemakers” of the group that met in 1930 at Rose Prairie to form the basis of the present fair. The following year the North Pine Farmers Institute Agricultural Fair was started. The next few fairs were held at North Pine. During the war years the fair was discontinued to be resumed later. In early spring of 1947 the communities north of Fort St. John decided to form the North Peace Fall Fair Association. As there was no money in this new organization each of the members donated $1.00 to help buy stamps, envelopes, etc. It was decided to ask businesses in the area to contribute to the fair to help defray the costs. For many years this was the main source of income.

At this fair a light aircraft carried young and old on 15 minute flights using the Jim Young hay field as the air strip. This fair also had three girls as Harvest Queens sponsored by the W.I. This first prize list was in leaflet form printed Free of charge by Ma and George Murray. Judges for this fair were Dr. J. Giles, Dawson Creek, E.A. Tucker, Pouce Coupe and Russel Brown, District Agriculturist.

North Pine, Pineview, Montney and Rose Prairie shared the fair on a rotation basis holding it in a different community each year.

1947 Rose Prairie Hall 1951 Rose Prairie Hall
1948 North Pine School 1952 North Pine School
1949 Pineview Hall 1953 Pineview Hall
1950 Montney School 1954 Montney School

In 1954 Albert Germaine leased 10 acres of land at the present site for use as fair grounds. This land purchased in 1978 and in 1981 an additional 33 acres of land had been added to make up the present Fair Grounds and Regional Park. This was made possible with the help of the Regional District.

The old log house on the grounds was built by Jack and Harvey Parker in 1928. To the best of our knowledge it is the oldest standing building on any fair grounds in BC. At the time of the land purchase there was also a log barn on the property built in 1935 – 36 by Frank Coglan. The fair board purchased this barn at a cost of $400.00 but in 1986 it had to be torn down for safety reasons.

Various buildings on the grounds have been donated by different communities to add to the fair. The most significant being the Pineview Hall donated when the Pineview Community Club disbanded in 1978. Some of the small concession stands came from the other local communities. The large Handicraft building was moved by Dan Pomeroy to the grounds in 1960. He had problems crossing the Montney Bridge within and it had to be split in two. The building was bought for a cost of $2000.00 and cost $750.00 to move.

The permanent buildings that have been built since the land was purchased have been a 280 foot cattle barn, a small animal barn and the new office. A display booth and the new entertainment stage have helped to expand the general public’s involvement. Other major improvements were the rings for the cattle and horses and wash facilities for the animals, as well as a new display booth, the new 4-H building, a new heavy horse ring and a new light horse and heavy horse barn. Some other things done were a tractor pull track in 1999. Some of the labour and part of the funds for the materials were provided by the North Peace Senior 4-H Council and were greatly appreciated by the Fair Board. The cooperation between 4-H and the Fair Board over the years has helped to produce a successful fair. The latest improvements being a washroom facility with running water and flush toilets for the public.

We also have gotten gravel to gravel our roads and cut brush to make a trail for wagon rides, that Doug Wiles has graciously done for us for several years. Everett Patterson has now taken over since Doug Wiles's health has been failing

At the present time the fair board is in the process of replacing some of the original display booths with more spacious ones. The old ones are to the point of being beyond repair and unsafe to continue to use for many more years. We have the funds to build these booths but the lack of manpower to make it happen.

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