The history of the North Country Fair, as reported in this newspaper and online at our website, is great reading.
Over the decades, the fair moved from one part of the south shore of Lesser Slave Lake to another. It always stayed true to its roots, locating back and forth from Joussard to Spruce Point Park, to Joussard, and now, its permanent home in the Driftpile River Valley south of Driftpile First Nation. As the history says, rain, more rain, and still more rain threatened the very existence of the fair many times. The diehards finally made up their minds: expect rain! Come prepared for rain! Enjoy the rain!
Some people of course, refused. If it isn’t sunshine, sandy beaches, fun in the sun, sitting around the campfire sipping beverages and singing along, it just isn’t a good time. Period!
So it happened, if it was really a sunny year or two for the fair, attendance perked up the following years. Until Mother Nature struck back!
It’s a similar story for all the fishing tournaments held across Alberta. And all the jamborees and other concerts, fairs, rodeos and rallies. The saying goes, “It wouldn’t be a walleye tournament without rain.” Fill in your own particular idea of fun where it says “walleye tournament.” Keep heading to your favourite event, rain or shine, and you will soon understand how the phrase “fair weather friends” came about some time, some place, years ago. When the rains come, people disappear. Some get so fed up, they never return.
Tsk! Most people have their best memories during the worst weather times. North Country Fair? Sliding down the mud hill at Joussard. Going from camper to camper at Spruce Point Park in the middle of pouring rain, hoping to find a spare spot that was half dry. Crazy dancing in front of the main stage with hundreds of other people while rain sloshes down. Snuggling in the back seat of a car because you didn’t know enough to not pitch the tent in a low spot which turned into a small lake.
Fishing tournaments where one story was a team was hanging from trees as huge waves pushed their boat into shore, then destroyed the craft. Static electricity so intense you couldn’t hold your fishing rod. Sticking your head over the boat’s windshield to see where you were going, and being smacked by gobs of sleet ice it was so cold.
Oh, so many stories. And so many stories that are far more interesting and exciting than “Had a really good time. Sun was hot. Got a nice tan.”
Sure, it’s nice to laze out once in awhile. But do you go to the Caribbean and miss out on the para-sailing? Costa Rica and skip the zip line? Take a cruise, and never do a shore adventure?
We always say in the middle of winter here: “Embrace the weather.” Really, no matter where you live, no matter where you travel, no matter what the season, be prepared for so-called “bad” weather. Bad weather is only bad if you aren’t ready for it. -40 below. 40 above. Hurricanes and tornadoes. All events. All years. All people.
And of course, North Country Fair folks. We welcome you all.