VERNON – The contributions of B.C. fairs and exhibitions were recognized by Agriculture and Lands Minister Pat Bell as he presented the Awards of Excellence at the BC Association of Agricultural Fairs and Exhibitions (BCAAFE) Annual Convention in Vernon.
“Many British Columbians’ only direct interaction with agriculture and the people who work in it is through visiting a fair or exhibition,” said Bell. “BCAAFE has done an outstanding job with this award program to promote agriculture and bridge the urban/agriculture divide. Congratulations to the winners and to the other fairs that participated; they all make an invaluable contribution to agriculture in B.C.”
The theme for the 2006 Awards of Excellence Program was “Showcase of Agriculture.” The objective of the Showcase of Agriculture was to promote to the public safe, high-quality British Columbia products from a sustainable agri-food system.
“BCAAFE was very pleased to be partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands on this Provincial Fair Program for 2006,” said Don Gedlaman, 1st vice president of BCAAFE. “It is very gratifying to have Minister Bell support B.C. fairs and exhibitions in helping educate the public about the importance of agriculture. The financial returns to our province and healthy lifestyles are surpassed by none.”
Each participating fair and exhibition was required to create an attractive display of healthy, safe agri-food products grown or produced in B.C. As part of the criteria for evaluation, displays were to include the nutritional value of products as well as educational material and economic value to the community. Other display requirements included a link from farm to table and the use of effective and quality display materials and products.
Awards were given in three divisions based on attendance the previous year. Division 1 includes small fairs with attendance less than 3,000; those with attendance between 3,000 and 20,000 compete in division 2; and division 3 consists of large fairs and exhibitions with attendance over 20,000.
First place winners for each division receive a $10,000 cash prize, second place winners receive $6,000 and third place winners collect a $3,000 prize. In addition to the cash prize, the first place winner in each division will be designated the “Provincial Fair” for that division for 2006.
On-site evaluations were conducted at participating fairs and exhibitions from May to September. The winners are as follows:
· Division 1:
1st place: Mayne Island Fall Fair
2nd place: Sooke Fall Fair
3rd place: Tlell Fall Fair
· Division 2:
1st place: Salt Spring Island Fall Fair
2nd place: Cobble Hill Fair
3rd place: North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo
· Division 3:
1st place: Dawson Creek Exhibition
2nd place: Prince George Exhibition
3rd place: Bulkley Valley Exhibition
The Awards of Excellence Program was created by BCAAFE using funding from the Province announced in April. In addition to its annual base funding of $150,000, the Province provided $225,000 to BCAAFE this year to help it develop an enhanced recognition program and fair expansion strategy.
A photo of Minister Bell at the BCAAFE Convention is available at: www.mediaroom.gov.bc.ca//DisplayEventDetails.aspx?eventId=322
Ministry of Agriculture and Lands
250 213-3072 (cell)
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