BCNE goes ahead with a bit of tweaking

Alex Huber said he got a lot of cross-eyed looks at the meeting Tuesday night when, as president of the British Columbia Northern Exhibition (BCNE) board of directors, he even suggested canceling this year's fair.

"Everything is moving forward, we have to tweak it a little bit because the rodeo grounds are still being used by campers so we're moving a lot of the horse events," he said.

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The fair grounds are being used as campgrounds right now by evacuees of the Cariboo wildfires and the Agriplex, including the barns and stables, are housing evacuated animals. Currently there are 154 horses, four goats, three ferrets, one pot belly pig, one rabbit, 42 chickens and three chicks at the Agriplex.

"So the big barrel race and the roping event are either going to be held in the Agriplex (arena) or the outdoor arena close to the gymnastics building because we don't have access to the rodeo grounds," Huber said.

Despite highway closures, the midway operator promised they would get to the BCNE in time for the Aug. 17 to 20 event and the carvers are attending the Canadian Chainsaw Carving Competition as scheduled.

"Yup, everything looks good, everything is moving forward," Huber said.

The Kin Centres will hold the vendor booths, home arts and horticulture events as always, the Seniors Information Fair will be held on the opening day Thursday.

"The only issue we have is the rodeo grounds as well as the barns where there will still be evacuated animals but somebody in Alberta donated the use of a truckload of livestock panels so we can set up temporary shelters in order to accommodate the 4-H kids who are showcasing their livestock."

Evacuees are supporting the BCNE boards' efforts to hold the fair and have offered to help how ever they can to make sure the fair goes ahead.

"As for the evacuees - they don't even know if they've got a home to go back to - but they said 'well, the kids need the barn so let's hand bomb some bails outta there,'" Huber said of 2,000 small bales that are being stored at the agriplex.

"It's pretty amazing stuff."

Huber said the generosity doesn't stop there. He's had a truckload of shavings donated to the 4-H kids who will be bringing their livestock to the fair this year and the midway provider West Coast Amusements is donating one dollar from each armband that's purchased at Save On Foods to the Prince George Horse Society to help feed the evacuated animals currently housed at the Agriplex.

"Everybody's pitching in and it's amazing," Huber said.

"It's going to take a little bit of extra organizing, a little bit of extra work but in the three weeks we have left before the start of the fair, it will all come together."

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