Column: Harvest Fair a hoot

It may still be hard to believe, but September is already here.

It may still be hard to believe, but September is already here. Fall is approaching and farmers are in the middle of harvesting their crops and preparing for the changing of the seasons. What better way to celebrate than at the 39th Williams Lake Harvest Fair held on Sept. 12 and 13.

The Harvest Fair is a premier event in the Cariboo-Chilcotin that fills both the heart and soul of our community. If you’re in town this weekend, don’t miss out on this Cariboo classic — complete with a West Coast lumberjack show, gymkhana, the Little Britches Rodeo, the third annual Ranch Challenge, art, animals, flowers,  baking, horse-drawn wagon rides and agricultural exhibitions, or come and taste and buy some of the delicious products that our local producers have to offer. One of my other favourites is the Exhibit Hall and the Beef Show, not to mention the chili cookoff! However, the main purpose of the Williams Lake Harvest Fair is to promote the importance of agriculture and how it affects our lives every day.

B.C. has one of the most diverse agrifoods sectors in Canada. Did you know that B.C. farms produce about 1.2 million tons of crops and meats a year, as well as 687 million litres of milk and 810 million eggs? Or that B.C.’s greenhouse vegetable growers generated more than $305 million in total farm cash receipts in 2013? This included almost $137 million in peppers, nearly $117 million for tomatoes, close to $46 million in cucumbers and almost $6 million in other vegetable products such as lettuce and eggplant. We are truly blessed with an abundance of premium products here in B.C. We are also fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers and sponsors who make this event possible every year. I would like to especially thank Tammy Tugnum, president of the Harvest Fair, and each of the executives who help organize the event all year round. It is because of their passion for agriculture and the community of Williams Lake that the fair has been a success for almost 40 years.

The fair runs both Saturday and Sunday at Stampede Park, and you can go to the Williams Lake Harvest Fair website at www.wlharvestfair.ca for all the details.

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

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