The Desert Park Exhibition Society in Osoyoos is looking at hosting the Canadian Indian Relay Racing Association as the Medieval Faire is not returning this year. (Canadian Indian Relay Racing Association photo)

Medieval Faire in South Okanagan cancelled, Desert Park wooing other events

The Desert Park Exhibition Society board is looking into hosting another major event

The Medieval Faire will not be returning to Osoyoos Desert Park this year, but the board is looking into hosting another major event.

“Yes, there are four events on the agenda to talk about at our May 6 meeting. It depends upon which one looks the most likely and the most affordable,” said Desert Park president Bobbie Fischer.

READ MORE: Fun and games, medieval style

According to Fisher, the Medieval Faire ran for three years and is a $40,000 to $50,000 endeavour. In spite of that, they still saw a profit. In previous years, the park has held concerts, horse racing and exhibition harness races.

“It is very important that, whatever event we have, it is marketed properly and that it turns a profit, even if it is small. As you know with the races, the profit wasn’t big. It was a gift to the town really,” said Fischer.

READ MORE: Organizers surprised by large crowd at the track

She told Osoyoos town council last week that they are looking to increase equine use at Desert Park, but they are also still examining hosting at least one event. Of the events proposed, the board is especially interested in a long-table dinner, drone racing, a hot air balloon event and they are investigating hosting the Canadian Indian Relay Racing Association. Fischer said the CIRRA race is “growing massively” in the U.S. and already exists in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“The purpose of this association is to keep young people out of trouble and interested and involved in being active as a team. It is a marvellous event and we are working hopefully to get that to come to B.C.,” said Fischer.

The races consist of five teams (each with three horses, one rider, one mugger and two holders). The bareback rider takes off on the horse, with assistance from his teammates, racing against the others around the track. As they come back to the start/finish area the rider must jump off the horse in his pit area onto his next one to continue around the track. The kids and junior relay teams ride ponies on a smaller scale track.

Hosting any event would be dependent on the costs associated with them and if they had any sponsorship come on board.

Fischer said they board is looking into hiring a trainer, who races at Hastings and in Alberta, that wants to make Desert Park their home base.

She said the board is investigating if they could partner up to use the barns and track with the trainer who has young horses and mares foaling.

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