PWF History: Now and Then
THEN The year was 1939 and WWII had just begun when word was received that the Army had taken the Pacific National Exhibition grounds in Vancouver over to serve as a base, thus forcing the cancellation of the British Columbia Winter Fair that had been held there annually for some years. This was a major concern to those who were preparing their cattle, sheep and swine for the show.
The Calf Scramble (later the Fred Nichol Event) had its origin in 1959 with the first one being held in an old airplane hangar across from the BC Beef Cattle Growers Yards. Those who caught a calf kept it for their project the following year with the calves being donated by area ranchers. The event has evolved from chasing livestock around an arena into a practical obstacle course of ranching activities.
The Christmas Fat Stock Show & Sale changed its name in 1961, when it became the Provincial Winter Fair. The fair then moved locations in 1970 to the previous KXA Agriplex on Mount Paul Center.
NOW Today, the fair occurs on a smaller scale, but with the same heart, enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers of the past. The fair is still a tradition for multi-generational families, however there are numerous newcomers. The livestock show is still the heart of the fair, but in the past we have expanded to include various other groups including craft and food vendors, as well the first annual Top Hand Ranch Competition in 2008.
In 2016, we moved to the gorgeous grounds at Circle Creek Ranch in Kamloops. We are proud to offer highly entertaining family events and activities, in addition to showcasing local talent on the Main Stage.
In 2018, in honour of our 80th Anniversary—we were pleased to showcase our region’s local fare with a delectable wine pairing event—Grapes & Grill on the Saturday of the show. The local beef & sheep was donated by Jason & Vickie Brandon and Riverbend Orchards. The menu was paired with our local winery, Harper’s Trail, fantastic wine selection. And then on Sunday, we honoured our ranching and Winter Fair Pioneers with the Pioneer’s Tea.
And this year, in 2023, we are celebrating our 85th Anniversary with the return of our Open Horse Show, the Grapes & Grill Event, and welcoming "Global Pet Foods SUPERDOGS" as our entertainment showcase!
We hope everyone can come out and experience history taking place by either exhibiting in the fair or just coming down to the fairgrounds!
We appreciate the great support we get from our fair sponsors, livestock buyers and 4-H clubs throughout the Cariboo and the Thompson-Okanagan Valleys!!