Agriculture has been a staple at the PNE Fair for over a century.
Included in that story is 4-H (head, heart, hands, health), a Canada-wide youth development program offered through local clubs, which Christie Kerr, manager of agriculture at PNE, said has a “long-standing history” with the Fair.
“It really is an amazing youth development program,” she said. “Most people think its all about livestock… the important thing to note is that there is such a broad-base of projects that kids can be involved in and it encompasses so much more than just caring for an animal.”
Projects outside of livestock include photography, gardening and outdoor living.
Emma Davidson, 17, a member of the Glen Valley 4-H club, recently returned from competing in her sixth year at the PNE winning champion senior rabbit showman, champion fancy buck and champion fancy rabbit with her Netherland Dwarf rabbit Alfie.
“When I started 4-H, I really had this motivation and passion for agriculture, but I didn’t ever realize how deep that passion was for me,” she said. “Once I started with rabbit and goat I didn’t stop, and now, I’m on the path to do post-secondary for vet technician school to get more into agriculture.”
For many 4-H members the PNE is a time to auction off their products and reap the rewards of their hard work, but Davidson had no intention of selling Alfie who will remain her pet.
Kerr also has strong ties to 4-H having been a former club member in Dewdney. She said the program still remains a large part of the exhibition.
“Our fair predominately has city goers that come to our site, so for them to see authentic agriculture through interactions with 4-H here at our fair is probably the best insight into real farm life that we can give them,” she said.
“It’s still a strong and vibrant program… they’re still going strong, still being innovative and looking at ways that they can relate to a broader group of people,” she added.