I write on behalf of the Bulkley Valley Agricultural and Industrial Association to thank the Smithers District Chamber of Commerce for awarding us their Excellence in Tourism Award.
For 99 years now, the BVAIA has promoted agriculture and industry through the Fall Fair. This year we had nearly record attendance and a 4-day rodeo, which of course boosts tourism in Smithers. The Fair operates on a business model, but returns its profits to the community. This year, $37,000 was paid to community members in prize money. We spent $90,000 directly on local business and contractors to put on the Fair.
A further $80,000 was donated in-kind by local businesses and individuals and so was passed back to the community enjoying the Fair. The 4H auction returned $200,000 to local youth who worked all year raising valuable animals and becoming good citizens. Our food vendors are local service groups for whose charitable work for the Fair is a key fundraiser.
We paid $20,000 to local clubs and organizations to provide services at the Fair. Our efforts over the past two years brought Girls Guides from around the world for a week at the fairgrounds and attracted the RCMP Musical Ride. More than 8,000 hours are put in by hard-working volunteers year-round to put on the Fair.
In short, the Fair is a huge economic engine that helps keep Smithers on the map. Come out and help us put on the greatest Fair ever next year!