2017 BCNE Fall Fair in Doubt
Prince George, B.C. – The future of this year’s BCNE Fall Fair in Prince George is up in the air.
The uncertainty has been created by the wildfire situation in the Cariboo says Alex Huber, president of the BCNE’s Board of Directors.
“I think we’ll have to make a decision by the end of next week. We have a Board meeting next week where we’re going to be addressing it,” he says. “To see what the options are rather than flat out cancelling the show.”
Huber says the Agriplex – which is used to house livestock during the Aug. 17-20 event – is currently full of animals owned by wildfire evacuees.
He says the rodeo grounds are also jammed full of campers where they’re supposed to be setting up a motocross track.
As if things weren’t challenging enough, Huber adds if Highway 97 doesn’t reopen, it will make bringing the midway rides up from Chilliwack much more difficult.
“They could pass through Valemount or Alberta but it’s definitely the long way around. It’s doable, but it’s going to have an effect with added costs.”
Huber says international participants in this year’s chainsaw competition (from as far away as Germany and Japan) also need to purchase their flight tickets soon too (the costs of which are picked up by the BCNE).
He says canceling the event would be a “financial blow” – though not a fatal one.
“The last three years we’ve made some major headway as far as addressing our debt. The city gave us a 10-year lease (this spring) on the rodeo grounds,” says Huber.
“If anything, the future of the BCNE is more solid than it has been in the last 10 years. We’ve also been getting our debt under control. But cancelling the fair would definitely put a dent in our plans to rebuild the rodeo grounds.”
But first things first, Huber says the danger facing communities in the Cariboo is his greatest concern.
“We’ve got to address the issue at hand and that’s taking care of our families, our friends and our relatives.”