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Armstrong IPE officially cancelled due to COVID-19

Click to play video '2020 IPE cancelled due to pandemic' 2020 IPE cancelled due to pandemic
A B.C. fair that has made it through two world wars and the depression has been forced to cancel in 2020 due to the pandemic. The Interior Provincial Exhibition has been held since 1899. Organizers said they had no choice but to follow health regulations to prevent the spread of the virus. – May 4, 2020

The wildly popular Interior Provincial Exhibition (IPE) and Stampede in the North Okanagan has been cancelled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The five-day fair, planned this year for Sept. 2, is held annually in the Spallumcheen and Armstrong districts. It was supposed to be the 121st annual event.

Upwards of 150,000 visitors attended the fair in 2019. Primarily B.C. and Alberta residents flock to the fair, but international visitors are known to attend as well.

The major event, which contributes $6.2 million to the local economy, celebrates rural and agricultural experiences for people of all ages.

The fair includes parades, competitions, interactive displays and the rodeo.

READ MORE: IPE organizers expecting thousands to pack 120th Armstrong fair

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General manager Yvonne Paulson says the board of directors decided to cancel the 2020 fair in the name of public health and safety.

“Considering present circumstances, this decision was unavoidable,” Paulson said in a media release.

Paulson thanked the event’s donors, sponsors, volunteers, exhibitors and patrons and said work is already underway for next year’s fair with new public health standards in place.

“From its earliest beginnings in 1899, the Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede has provided opportunities for people to gather for enjoyment and learning,” she said.

“As we adapt in the face of a global emergency, we will continue in this community spirit.”

READ MORE: Falkland Stampede delayed amid COVID-19 pandemic

This is not the first time the Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede has been cancelled.

In 1905, the Armstrong Spallumcheen Agricultural Fair decided to cancel their fair and participate in the Dominion Fair, being held in New Westminster, B.C.

Armstrong took third place in district exhibits that year.

The IPE is resilient and will “forge on”, Paulson said.  “Our Roots Run Deep!”

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More information about the fair can be found here.