PNE considers moving the Fair to July

Your annual trip to the Fair at the PNE might be taking place a little sooner in the next few years.

The event that has become a summer tradition for many people in B.C. is looking into changing dates for the annual fair.

The reason? Changing regional weather patterns.

The Pacific National Exhibition says weather conditions have dramatically affected the event in previous years, so the organizers will poll British Columbians on changing the historic end-of-summer dates to a mid-summer, July window.

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The 17-day Fair normally ends on the Labour Day weekend in September.

The organizers say the decision is by no means final, and they are only exploring the possibility of changing the dates.

“This is some preliminary research on a concept that we as an organization have been considering for close to a decade,” spokesperson Laura Ballance said in a press release.

Ballance says over the past 25 years, late August has been consistently receiving more rain and experiencing cooler temperatures, so ending the fair on Labour Day may no longer make sense from a weather perspective.

Organizers say changing weather patters have resulted in an average of twice the amount of rainfall in the last two weeks of August compared to the last two weeks of July. They also say average daily temperature drops in late August.

Ballance says the 2015 Fair saw four strongest days in over a decade but poor weather conditions resulted in a 10 per cent drop in attendance by the end of Labour Day.

The PNE has hired Insights West to conduct the poll starting May 11. The organizers will also be conducting the poll on their website at PNE长沙夜网 and any member of the public can give their opinion.

This year’s Fair will still take place Aug. 20-Sept. 5. If the organizers do move ahead with the date change, it would be for the 2018 event or later.

Let us know what you think by voting in our poll below.

Take Our Poll

‘You’re going to get through this,’ former mayor of Slave Lake tells Fort McMurray

Karina Pillay knows exactly what Melissa Blake is feeling. Five years ago, Pillay was the mayor of Slave Lake when wildfire ripped through that municipality, destroying one-third of the community.

She knows first hand what the Fort McMurray evacuees are going through.

READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire: 1 week after mass exodus of 80K people, fire grows to 229K hectares

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    “I’m sure there’s a roller coaster of emotions going on,” Pillay said.

    “I think it’s a very intense, stressful moment for the evacuees but I’m pretty confident they’re being supported by the numerous people who are opening their homes and the wave of humanity that’s coming their way.”

    READ MORE: Where Fort McMurray fire evacuees can get help and information 

    Pillay said it took about two years to rebuild about 90 per cent of Slave Lake, which she describes as “remarkable.” She credits the support from the province (there from “Day 1,” she said), the country, and the international community.

    “The outpouring of support was instant,” Pillay said. It was like “one big family trying everything we could to make sure our community was up and running on our return.”

    WATCH: A former resident of Slave Lake is offering her perspective on what wildfire evacuees can expect in the coming days and weeks. 

    Still, she says Fort McMurray should be ready for a long recovery effort that will likely take years.

    “It will be tremendous. This is a long haul.”

    “I would encourage people to think about Fort McMurray and those communities not only in the months to come but next year as well,” Pillay said.

    READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire – residents face difficult road to recovery, expert says

    She was first elected mayor of the Municipal District of Slave Lake in 2004. In 2013, she stepped down in order to attend medical school in Calgary. She has since graduated and is now completing her residency.

    Still, five years after the disaster that forced her onto the international stage, Pillay says she still hears encouraging words from Slave Lake.

    “We’re proud of our community. We’re proud of our resilience.”

    She said the district’s slogan comes to mind often, especially in light of what Fort McMurray is now faced with.

    “We’re rugged and real.”

    Her advice to those in Fort McMurray?

    “Take some comfort in the incredible army that’s on the ground working around the clock for you,” she said. “Also, just embrace the generosity that’s coming your way. You’re not alone in this. You’re going to get through this.”

    “They will recover from this and they will be stronger because of it.”

    Follow @Emily_Mertz

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