The Chilliwack Fair celebrated its 150th anniversary in August 2022 with record-breaking crowds, fair representative Cathy Oss noted in the annual report to council from the Chilliwack and District Agricultural Society.
“We are one of only two or three fairs in B.C. to reach this milestone,” Oss said in council chambers, describing the event’s long and storied history.
“I am thrilled to say that, despite Covid-related challenges and the shortages experienced by all businesses these days, we once again had record-breaking attendance, with approximately 47,000 people enjoying the three-day event.”
There were 2,000 at the opening night concert alone, and the hugely popular rodeo attracted the biggest crowd “ever.”
Oss thanked city council for their continued support of the Chilliwack Fair, “which we are pleased to host on the Sto:lo unceded traditional territory of the Pilalt and Ts’elxweyeqw people.”
In addition to the annual grant from City of Chilliwack, they also managed to refurbish the 40-year-old stage with a new roof, tires and soundproofing, giving it another four decades they hope.
Oss underlined the tourism draw that the fair has become, “putting Chilliwack on the map” with an estimated 15 per cent coming in from out of town which this year would have meant about 7,000 visitors.
They added extra seating for the rodeo this year but it was still standing room only. Some visitors came from other communities specifically to see the rodeo.
“So we need to find a way to seat more people in the future.”
The rodeo is put on by about 40 volunteers and sponsored by many local businesses.
The Canadian Military Education display was a new element, also very well received by the crowds, and it was presented by the CFB Military Museum, Canadian Military Education Centre, the Legion, Branch 295.
“Our roots are in agriculture, and as an agricultural fair we provide agricultural education and support in order to bridge the gap between our rural and urban peoples.”
They continue the tradition of competitive livestock shows for sheep, goats and horses, a large 4-H show, and the Buy BC program that allowed us to feature local chefs on stage, cooking with locally sourced ingredients.
“We also created the Farm Store, which featured food products created by local businesses.”
The Home and Garden show is one of the last of its kind. People had 12 different categories, there are classes for people of all ages and interests.
“This is a way that anyone in Chilliwack can participate in the Fair and every year several hundred people do take part.”
In the end what the fair also offers people is the chance to be engaged in their community and participate in myriad ways. Hundreds of people volunteer in planning and hosting the event.
“Several hundred people participate by exhibiting in home and garden competition, 4-H competition, equestrian events, the tractor pull, parades and displays.”
About 75 business provided sponsorship the Ag Society, and about another 40 sponsored the Rodeo, many more sponsored the 4-H show.
“This shows tremendous community support.”
“Financially we ended the year more or less break even, and feel we are in a good position for the future,” Oss concluded.
Do you have something to add to this story, or a news tip? Email: