Étoile Brown, Séamus, Theiadh and Aurealia Beaumont and Tove Brown enjoy the antics of Uncle Chris the Clown at the 2019 Salmon Arm Canada Day Children’s Festival. The 2020 festival has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)

Salmon Arm Fair, Shuswap Canada Day events cancelled

Pandemic prompts decision to shelf annual Shuswap community festivities

More Shuswap community events have been shelved for 2020 due to COVID-19, including the annual Salmon Arm Fair.

The Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake Agricultural Association (SASLAA) announced Friday morning, May 8, that the Sept. 11-13 fair is cancelled due to the pandemic. Fair general manager Jan Durocher said the board made the decision the evening prior. Their decision followed the cancellation of the Armstrong Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede, scheduled for Sept. 2 to 6.

Durocher said it was a heart-wrenching decision for all, but emphasized ‘safety first’ must be an overarching principal in everything they do.

“We are so very thankful to so many who have showed us unfailing support as we maneuvered this new landscape, with faith in us that we would make the right decision,” said Durocher in an email to the Observer. “We can now put all those efforts towards next year’s Fair, Sept 10, 11 and 12, 2021, and enjoy the long-standing and new partnerships that were solidified along the way.”

In a related media release, Durocher and the SASLAA board said they will be organizing a special day at next year’s fair to honour health-care and essential-service workers.

“The new norm will not be forgotten as we will now instill new safety measures in the 2021 Fair Operations Plan,” reads the release. “We will have ‘more to see’ when we are able to share it with you next year; an even bigger renewal to celebrate!”

Read more: Salmon Arm Roots & Blues cancels 2020 festival, pursuing alternatives

Read more: Another summer Shuswap tradition on hold due to COVID-19

Read more: North Okanagan events cancelled, pool limited, due to COVID-19

Also cancelled were Canada Day events in Salmon Arm and the South Shuswap.

On May 5, the Children’s Festival Society announced the Salmon Arm Canada Day Children’s Festival wouldn’t be taking place this year.

“We are very saddened that we will not be able to celebrate this important day as a community but know there will be many more Canada Day Celebrations in the upcoming years,” states the society in a Facebook post. “It is our responsibility to do what we can to ensure our children and community stays safe.”

The society adds donations received to this date will be secured for the 2021 celebrations.

South Shuswap Canada Day celebrations at Centennial Field in Blind Bay were cancelled as well. The South Shuswap Canada Day Committee had hoped restrictions would be lifted or that a modified version of the event could be held.

“Given recent provincial announcements regarding large gatherings, along with other issues, it is clearly not an option to host an event,” explained the committee in an email to the Observer. “It is with great anticipation that we all can look forward to celebrating together in 2021 with the biggest little celebration around!”

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Nash Bredick and Ian Calkins enjoying a ride at the 2019 Salmon Arm Fair on Friday, Aug. 6. This year’s fair was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

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