It was a whirlwind of activity inside the Chilliwack Fair office Thursday as organizers were getting the last things finished before the exhibition opened at 9 a.m. Friday.
Items were being checked off lists, fair passes were being picked up, phones were ringing, and hands were a blur typing up emails.
Outside, forklifts were hauling stacks of chairs into Heritage Park, pickup trucks passed by with decorative shrubs, food vendors were unloading their condiments, and piles of animal bedding sat throughout the easterly barns.
There are a lot of new things to see at the 144th annual Chilliwack Fair, says event co-ordinator Nicole Hill.
Fresh fair attractions this year include Sto:lo performances, pony rides, a hot air balloon, the Chilliwack Arts Council booth, a 50 per cent increase in food trucks, more local vendors in the marketplace, plus Buffalo Bill and his pig races.
Buffalo Bill Beaulieu is well-known for his quick-hoofed pigs that wear numbered bibs as they race around a track. Many have seen his entertaining show at the PNE.
Plus there’s a new addition to the 4-H competition.
“Our horse show is huge,” says Hill. The horses will be taking up half of one of the red barns, she adds.
Adjacent the horse stables are the cow stalls. Here, away from the fast-paced fair preparation, and all alone in red barn No. 4, the Thomson family was quietly unloading their calves.
They’ve been part of the fair for more than 57 years, says Chilliwack-born Lorraine Thomson of her family.
“My parents brought me to the fair when I was a little girl,” she recalls.
Since then, they’ve been a family of fair-goers. Her husband, Charlie, is a past president of the fair and was on the dairy committee. Her son, Clark, has been involved for more than 40 years. And her young grandsons, Hayden and Chase, show calves in 4-H.
They are keeners.
Although the Thomsons were some of the first to arrive Thursday with their livestock, Clark admitted they arrived later than they normally do. The family only brought six calves to the fair this year, but in past years they’ve brought their whole herd.
You can catch some of the 4-H action, plus all the other sights at the 144th annual Chilliwack Fair, Aug. 5-7. Gates open at 9 a.m. each day. Admission is $10/adult, $7/senior and youth, $30/family. Children 5 and under get in free.
There is also a free shuttle to Heritage Park with a number of stops.
For more info, including fair schedule, bus routes, stage performances and more, go to chilliwackfair.com. You can also download the free Chilliwack Fair app featuring schedules, events, and a map.