Vernon and North Okanagan
IPE celebrates history in Armstrong
Aug 22, 2013 / 2:41 pm
The countdown is on at the Interior Provincial Exhibition (IPE) fairgrounds in Armstrong.
With less than a week until show time, setup operations are well underway and IPE staff are keeping busy with last minute entries and hundreds of other event details.
The theme this year’s 114th IPE is ‘Come Celebrate the Fruits of our Labour,’ an homage to the exhibition’s fruit division.
It’s also the City of Armstrong’s 100th birthday. Past President of the IPE and Armstrong City Councillor, Shirley Fowler, is thrilled that the IPE plans to honour Armstrong’s 100 year celebration.
“The IPE has been working in partnership with the city for all of those 100 years. It’s nice to give back to the community,” says Fowler.
General Manager Bryan Burns is in his sixth year as the team’s fearless leader. Burns himself grew up in Armstrong and worked at the fairgrounds as a young boy.
“The thing that makes the IPE unique is that it’s a family event. The people are friendly, the atmosphere is welcoming. It makes people want to spend time in this community,” says Burns.
The Armstrong IPE is older than the city itself and has been running steady since 1899. It is one of the largest exhibitions in BC, second only to the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver, drawing crowds of more than 150,000 people every year.
“We have a lot more agriculture at our event. The PNE still has some of that, but we really have the largest agricultural exhibition around,” he said.
The 20 exhibition divisions include various livestock, beer and wine, photography, hobbies, baking and canning, and sewing. Altogether, the IPE is expecting more than 2000 exhibitors this year.
There are also more than 200 vendors, a jam packed schedule of live music at the event’s main stage, and an exclusive ‘Kids World’ area featuring endless family fun and activities.
In addition to the usual crowd-pleasing lumberjack show and the four years new IPE 100-mile-diet Iron Chef competition, Burns is excited to host a strongman-type demonstration for the first time at the IPE.
“It should be fun. They bend nails and smash blocks, things like that,” he said.
Of course no agricultural exhibition would be complete without a rodeo. From mini-chuck wagon races and light horse jumping during the day to the full-on Wrangler Rodeo Tour Finale at night, the Armstrong IPE truly has something for everyone.
“If you talk to people that have attended the IPE, nine out of 10 are going to have positive memories and experiences in mind,” says Burns.
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