Provincial Winter Fair factions face off in court

Two rival agricultural groups both claim they are the rightful home to this year’s provincial 4-H event

Cam Fortems, Kamloops This Week

Welcome to the 78th Provincial Winter Fair in Kamloops.

Welcome to the 78th Provincial Winter Fair in Barriere.

Two rival agricultural groups both claim they are the rightful home to this year’s provincial 4-H event — and one is suing the other, claiming its name, logo and organization was ripped off by a newcomer with a name designed to confuse the public.

Kamloops Exhibition Association (KXA), which traces its roots to 1895, filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court against the Provincial Winter Fair Society and seven people.

Six of them are former organizers with the KXA’s own Winter Fair committee, while a seventh is a former bookkeeper for the KXA.

The lawsuit claims the competing Provincial Winter Fair Society was formed in March by the seven people named in the lawsuit and began using the name, forms and logo in its marketing.

“The defendants have caused confusion and misrepresented their connection with the plaintiff’s Provincial Winter Fair in numerous ways,” reads the statement of claim.

Information can be found online advertising the Provincial Winter Fair in both Barriere and Kamloops.

The event is an opportunity for children and teens to showcase and sell everything from rabbits to lambs and calves.

It was started by the KXA in 1939 and remained for seven decades one of the signature events in a city built on an agricultural economy. After the KXA lost its home at Mount Paul Industrial Park, it moved the fair to the North Thompson Agriplex in Barriere in 2011. Its long-term goal was to return to Kamloops once an agricultural complex was developed.

Gary Gray, president of the KXA, declined to speak on the lawsuit, but he said planning to hold the Winter Fair at the Tournament Capital Ranch in Rayleigh is continuing.

“At this point, we’re going to,” he said. “We’ll put up temporary buildings.”

Meanwhile, the community of Barriere is planning to host the Winter Fair for the sixth year.

“To me, I’m going to tell you the Provincial Winter Fair will be held in the [North Thompson] Agriplex,” said Evelyn Pilatzke, president of the Provincial Winter Fair Society and one of the seven people named in the suit.

Pilatzke similarly declined to speak about the lawsuit, but she said the newly formed group is working to continue success of the event in Barriere from Sept. 22 to Sept. 26.

“No one wanted to find themselves in this situation,” she said. “On the other hand, I’m sure we’ll have well-attended and good events for the kids. That’s our focus.”

KXA is also continuing with its goal of building an agricultural and events complex in Kamloops that could provide a permanent home to the Winter Fair and other events.

“We’re working with the city to enhance the Tournament Capital site,” Gray said. “The Agricultural Land Commission granted 14.5 hectares. We’re working with the city on a plan and pursuing options of a partnership.”

The Provincial Winter Fair Society and seven defendants have yet to file a statement of defence.

None of the allegations have been heard or proven in court.

 

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