BC’s biggest agricultural fair, the Pacific National Exhibition, may be best known for its midway and concert venues these days, but it maintains close ties to the province’s agricultural community through its support of 4-H.
This year’s annual “Evening for Agriculture” fundraiser was held December 9, coinciding with the PNE’s new winter festival that offered family-focused fun, bright lights and performances such as the popular Nutcracker on Ice.
Poor weather meant a sparse turnout compared to the traditional event on Labour Day weekend, but about five dozen people bid $18,000 for lots ranging from gift baskets to a guitar signed by legendary rocker Billy Idol, who played the PNE this past summer.
While the event didn’t set new records, it promises to set youth from around the province on a firm footing for the future through the BC Youth in Agriculture Foundation, administered by a committee of the PNE.
Chilliwack resident and PNE director of fair operations Christie Kerr em-ceed the event, highlighting the beneficiaries of $44,000 the foundation disbursed over the past year.
These include $12,000 to the 4-H BC Provincial Council for its activities as well as $10,000 for the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation’s programs.
A total of $16,000 was granted to assist 4-H members travel to Vancouver and show at the PNE this summer.
The foundation also supports two $1,000 4-H scholarships. This year’s recipients were Jessica Tritten of Williams Lake and Beck Brown.
The BC Youth in Agriculture Foundation was established in 1959 with the assistance of George Norgan, president of Lucky Lager Brewing Co. Known as the Norgan Foundation until 2004, its name was changed to reflect its mission rather than its origins.
The foundation’s board includes representatives of the agriculture community as well as PNE staff.