Preliminary numbers from this year’s Agrifair, held Aug. 3 to 5, indicate that attendance was up 25 per cent from last year, reaching more than 40,000.
“The last time we hit 40,000-plus guests was in 2008 when we celebrated B.C.’s 150th birthday, and that was when Agrifair was a five-day fair, not three,” said president Bob Street.
He said new shows were a contributor to the increase. These included Spanky and Dally, Dock Dogs, the Logger Sport Competition and the RCMP Musical Ride.
The last time the RCMP ride was at Agrifair was in 2009.
The ride performed four times over the weekend, with salutes taken from Police Chief Bob Rich, deputy fire chief Craig Bird, and military veteran Keith Rollie.
The largest attendance was on Saturday afternoon, with the salute in honour of Const. John Davidson, the Abbotsford Police officer who was killed in the line of duty last November.
“We must recognize that the RCMP Musical Ride was a great draw for the community and surrounding area,” said fair manager Melanie Kish.
“Agrifair is growing and becoming an event people from all over the Lower Mainland, including Vancouver and Richmond, are being drawn to. It’s an event Abbotsford can be very proud of.”
Kish said attendance at the 2017 fair was 34,000.
“We are almost finished tallying all the numbers and show 42,500 for 2018,” she said. “This could increase slightly as there are in-house sales to account for. Our year end is Sept. 30. We will have solid numbers by then and be close to seeing how the attendance did for our financial picture.”
Street said the success of the fair can be attributed to the mayor and council, local citizens, generous sponsors, and dedicated volunteers, including his fellow directors and Kish.
He said planning for 2019 is already in the works, including Campbell Motorsports presenting a truck-and-tractor pull.