From the President
In spite of the past years challenges the Cowichan Exhibition has come through the second year of the pandemic in good shape. The financial statement following this report will confirm we are on solid footing. This has been made possible with government grants, the help of a dedicated team of volunteers, but mostly by Shari Patterson’s determination to keep the operation functioning while more than just meeting expenses. Thank you, Shari, on behalf of all who have benefited from your efforts to keep the Cowichan Exhibition on track and relevant over the past challenging year.
There were projects and events that the Exhibition accomplished last year. In order of difficulty here are a few of the highlights. The installation of new high efficiency lights in Mellor Hall, the barns, the meeting rooms, and the office area was completed. This was the most difficult and one of the longest projects I have seen Shari manage. There were too many problems with this project to go into detail here but with the help of Dave Mayo from Shur-Power Electric they got it done. This investment will repay itself with substantial savings on our electric bill. By giving more control of the lighting in Mellor Hall it will also be another selling feature for potential renters.
The next big accomplishment was having a two day Fair that met or exceeded the Covid guidelines in place at that time. It was felt that with a smaller event we could have more control over expenses in case of an unfavourable change in the health guidelines. The biggest change for this event was moving the Fair date to the third week in September. West Coast Amusements has two separate travelling midways. One midway spends the summer on the Island and the other works on the Mainland. We had been using the Mainland midway but the expense of coming to the Island for just our fair was too big a risk to take, so they declined to come. By moving to the third week of September the Island based midway was available for our Fair. The Fair and midway were both successful even though the midway got washed out on Friday. With the washout on Friday we still received more revenue than we did from the Mainland operation. We are now planning a three day Exhibition for this year with the Island based midway which requires us to continue operating on the third week in September.
Later in the year we had our Deck The Halls event. This was by far the busiest one we have had. There was overflow parking of at least two hundred cars in the midway parking lot on the first day. Almost everyone, vendor or customer, was very happy with how this event was run.
Movies in the Park is continuing to run, with no end in sight, providing a steady low maintenance income stream.
No one knows what the rest of this year will bring, there is too much happening that is unpredictable. But we are in a good position to carry on and we now have a knowledge base that we can adapt to just about any changing circumstances.
A. D. Irwin
Prior to 1948, the Cowichan Exhibition Society and the Cowichan Agricultural Society operated under the same leadership, beginning with Archdeacon Reece in 1868, the first year of the fair. This list reflects the leadership of the Cowichan Exhibition Society when it became a Board on its own.