Celebrating 100 years of Grand Forks Fall Fair

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
August 29th, 2010

Along with the usual traditions, the annual Grand Forks Fall Fair festivities this year were topped up with a visit from the Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Honourable Steve Thomson awarding the committee with the Century Farm Award. On hand for the presentation were regional, provincial and federal government representatives.   “I really understand the important economic contribution that agriculture makes to the province and to the region. The work that fall fairs do in creating awareness and education, and bringing the agriculture community together to create that awareness and understanding is so important across the province,” said Thomson in his presentation of the Century Award. “We’ve come a long ways since 1910 and it’s great to hear the continued commitment. I want to recognize and congratulate all the volunteers and directors who make these events happen, they put in a tremendous amount of work.”   Thomson presented the Century Farm Award to Perepolkin on behalf of the province. The award recognizes 100 years of contributions to agriculture in the province and is given to farmers who have farmed the same land over multi-generations, or farm organizations who have demonstrated contributions to the agricultural industry in the province. Along with the Minister, MLA for the Boundary / Similkameen John Slater was on hand to congratulate the community.   “On behalf of the Province of B.C. I’d like to congratulate everybody involved in this event. It’s all about bringing communities together, bringing the agriculture communities together, bringing families together. Agriculture is the staple of all our communities especially in the interior of B.C. and I congratulate everybody that has worked so hard on these events,” said Slater.   Grand Forks Mayor Brian Taylor also stepped up to the podium with a commitment to help the Grand Forks Fair into the future by developing a permanent location for the event.   “I think what really would move agriculture and special events forward is to have a permanent home for the fall fair. I’d like to put on notice all levels of government that we’re going to need help but I think it really will be part of a revitalization of this community and the agricultural base of this community,” said Taylor.   Regional District Area C Director Grace McGregor then rallied the audience to join in singing a round of “Happy Birthday” to Grand Forks in celebration of the fair’s anniversary. MP Alex Atamanenko was also on hand to congratulate the community for the event and the success of fair society over the years.   “Agriculture is at the very heart of our fair,” said Grand Forks Fall Fair president Irene Perepolkin. “Farming and the agriculture industry brought Grand Forks to life. It’s nice for our community’s farming and ranching families to be recognized for their hard work over the last 100 years.” 
The Grand Forks Agricultural Association was established in 1910, with the first fall fair taking place on Oct. 4 and 5. The first fair featured a fruit exhibit, horse races, a large poultry show and a tug of war. In 1973, the organization was incorporated under the name Grand Forks and District Fall Fair.   

Over the last century, the fair has grown to include a parade on opening day, food, local entertainment, and a wide variety of demonstrations and vendors. The theme of this year’s fair was “Celebrating 100 Years – Rooted in History.”  

Video coverage courtesy of Les Johnson and What’s Up in Grand Forks

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