Fair an integral part of life

In Focus column by Andrew Tripp, Sept. 24 Boundary Creek Times

The 2015 fall fair is in the books, and, by all accounts, it was another hugely successful affair.

Personally, I was most impressed by the numerous animal exhibits and competitions. As I stood watching steer-handlers move quietly around the judging pen, carefully observed by the expert evaluators, I couldn’t help but admire the handlers’ obvious connections with their animals. The steers were generally very calm and well behaved, with an occasional tug of a rope the only sign of discipline.

Many of the competitors were 4-H members, youngsters who had grown up with animals and seemed to possess an innate ability to control the sizeable beasts with little more than the rub of a show stick. It was obvious that the kids enjoyed their time in the ring, eager to showcase their developing animal husbandry skills. No doubt the lessons learned throughout their 4-H tenure will forever influence them as individuals and help them mature into kind and productive citizens. They will, at the very least, always be good with animals.

I also enjoyed walking through the animals’ rest areas that, for the most part, were surprisingly quiet and devoid of bovine unrest. Frankly, the animals looked like they were enjoying a spa day, complete with a good supply of lush alfalfa, the most luxurious animal bedding imaginable and, heck, even a fan to keep them cool. I live amidst cattle (not my own), and I have to say they are nothing like those at the fair, though maybe, just maybe, a few of them might one day find their way to the Steer Hotel.

The same goes for the sheep, which were so wonderfully neat and clean that I almost cowered with shame as I pictured my own woolly beasts. Frankly, mine look like completely different animals in comparison to the elegantly coiffed, freshly powdered creatures that languished quite happily in their pens. Surrounded by admiring visitors, the delightful young animals truly did their class proud!

On the other hand, I’m yet to make up my mind about “mutton busting.” I’m no animal psychologist, but I seriously doubt that those sheep enlisted to carry six year olds across the arena hold the same degree of fondness for the fair as do those other ‘special’ creatures.

The inaugural Talent Competition was a big success, as it showcased several extremely talented performers, a couple of whom we may just be seeing on stage for years to come. Both Damien Alblas and Laura Close appear destined for a run at stardom; one is 15 and the other 11 and, with their continued dedication to music, it would appear the sky really is the limit. Alblas, in particular, appears to have it all; excellent musicianship, a powerful vocal range and, might I say, that rare “x factor.”

The main stage entertainment was generally very strong throughout the weekend; Boundary country artist Lisa Nicole belted out some fine covers as well as some excellent original material. I conducted a short interview with Lisa after her set, and you can read excerpts from that interview in this issue.

Also impressive was the high-energy Kelowna-based group The Trips, an act that fair entertainment director Pierre Sinclaire is keen to bring back next year.

All in all, it was another great fair, and I would personally like to thank the organizers and volunteers for their amazing dedication to an event that continues to be an integral part of life here in Boundary Country.

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