Cam Fortems – Kamloops This Week
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District will financially support two competing Provincial Winter Fairs, despite several directors expressing dismay over the 4-H fight.
Directors voted unanimously Thursday at a regular meeting to give $5,000 to a Provincial Winter Fair to be held at Circle Creek Ranch, just south of Kamloops off Highway 5A.
A competing event in Barriere, also calling itself Provincial Winter Fair, is similarly scheduled for the last weekend in September.
It received identical financial support at an earlier regional district board meeting.
The Kamloops-based group under the umbrella of Kamloops Exhibition Association sued the group holding the fair in Barriere, claiming it is using its identity to hold a competing event. A trial is scheduled to determine the outcome if they two sides cannot settle.
“It’s a bunch of adults, each wanting to say they’re running the event,” said director and Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar.
Milobar made the motion to support the event in Kamloops, provided it goes ahead as planned.
At a court hearing earlier this month, lawyers said the Barriere fair has signed up about 70 per cent of 4-H participants.
Organizer Carole Gillis said the Kamloops fair was moved from the original proposed site at the city-owned Tournament Capital Ranch in Rayleigh due to the availability of covered areas at Circle Creek.
Director Bill Kershaw, who represents a rural area around Barriere, likened the split to the emergence of the World Hockey League as a competitor to the NHL in the 1970s. He said any winners at the fair will find their trophies tainted because competitors are split.
“I think there will be only one loser: kids at 4-H,” Kershaw said.
David Arduini, chairman of the Kamloops event, said it has made a settlement offer to the Barriere group and organizers expect to hear whether it will be accepted by the end of the month.