Taves Apple Barn Opening

Not that anyone is quite ready for summer to be over, but it’s hard to deny that these cooler summer days don’t have us heading into fall mode! And, fall means fall harvest with apples and pumpkins.

Opening on August 19th, the Applebarn at Taves Family Farms is ready to welcome everyone on the farm. The late spring warm weather has ripened these apples, earlier than anticipated, and the trees are loaded with beautiful red apples. There is nothing quite like spending the day with family and friends, reaching for that highest apple and, of course, ‘testing’ it to make sure it passes inspection. U-Pick begins with Alkmene and Gravenstein followed by Ambrosia, Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, Spartan, and, the Taves’ signature apple, the Jonagold.  Elstar and Sunrise are only available in the Country Store.

Types of Apples grown on Taves Farm:

Originates from Germany, related to the Cox, but with a more robust flavor. Slightly sharper than the Cox and commonly known as the Early Windsor. White to cream to pale yellow. Sweet and aromatic.
Gravenstein: An older apple variety from Denmark. High quality flavor. Sweet and sharp. White to cream to pale yellow.
Ambrosia: Medium-sized. White to cream to pale yellow. Honeyed, scented, aromatic.
Fuji: Originating from Japan. Attractive, crisp, very sweet modern apple.
Gala: One of the most well-known apples. Medium-sized. White to cream to pale yellow. Sweet and sharp.

Honeycrisp: Medium-sized white to cream, pale yellow. Crisp, and predominantly sweet, modern variety from the USA.
Spartan: Attractive, crunchy, sweet and with the characteristic of a delicate wine-like "vinous" flavor like the McIntosh family of apples. Sweet and aromatic. Honeyed. White to cream to pale yellow.
Sunrise: Originates from Canada. Medium-sized. White to cream to pale yellow. Sweet and sharp, leans towards sharp.
Elstar: Successful offspring from the Golden Delicious and Cox’s Orange Pippin. Excellent flavour quality and great for cooking. Honeyed and scented. Medium-sized. White to cream to pale yellow.
Jonagold: Originates from the US and inherits many of the good qualities of its parents, the Jonathan and Golden Delicious. Great for cooking and cider. Exceptional flavour, bold and sweet. White to cream to pale yellow.

For those who don’t feel like U-Picking, the Country Store has bags of freshly-picked apples ready to go. Be sure to watch the U-Pick page for expected picking dates and frequent updates. No need to bring your own containers as the Taves have that covered, and tour buses and larger groups are always welcome.

The Taves invite you to spend a full day at the farm for that taste of the country experience. The kids will be bouncing away on jumping pillows, petting adorable farm animals, gazing at alpacas and peacocks, feeding the goats, riding ponies, bumping along on a hayride, shooting pumpkins and corn cobs, swooshing through the air in tire swings, watching bees make honey, sliding and zip-lining, and running through a corn maze. A concession stand is available on weekends, but everyone is also welcome to bring a packed lunch and rest at a picnic table.

A visit is not complete without trying an apple cider slushy and bringing home a few jugs of cold-pressed cider. So sweet and delicious, but contains nothing more than pure apples. The viewing window shows the process in action. Healthy and tasty? I know, hard to believe!

Visit &

Aerospace, Defence and Security Expo: Strong Voice at Tradex

If anyone knows about the humble beginnings of the Aerospace, Defence and Security Expo (ADSE) at Tradex, it is retired Brigadier General Dwayne Lucas.

Six years ago, a tent on the Abbotsford Airshow ramp housed networking, announcements, and local aerospace companies with a mix of dignitaries who participated in a tour of Cascade Aerospace.

It was in 2013, after some strong influencing by Lucas (founding ADSE member) and his team who wanted to see the event grow, that ADSE made its debut at Tradex, this time raising the importance of the show and featuring Western Canadian participation, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and a higher level of government involvement. It was an opportunity to show the strength of the growing B.C. aerospace industry.

ADSE Forum at Tradex

Mike Mueller, new vice-president of operations and communications for AIAC Pacific (which took over responsibility of the ADSE in 2014) said the aerospace industry “is buying into what we are doing here . . . we have a pretty bright future.”

Mueller was among 150 guests celebrating Tradex’s 25th anniversary at a special outdoor luncheon on July 28 at the facility which is serving ADSE’s needs very well.

To walk into an ADSE event with its trade show with 50 exhibitors on one side of Tradex, and on the other side its 400 delegates and representatives from 29 sponsors seated listening to major industry discussions lead by key aerospace leaders and aided by super screen technology and professional lighting and staging, is truly an impressive experience.

In 2014, then-AIAC Pacific VP Jay Teichroeb said inviting the international aerospace, defence, and security companies to Abbotsford was “one way we work to make sure our B.C. aerospace companies remain world class in this competitive global marketplace. B.C. has a diverse range of companies that are proved aerospace innovators and technology leaders, and that translates to significant employment here in the Fraser Valley as well as throughout B.C. and the rest of Canada.”

Teeming with government officials, federal and provincial ministers that year at Tradex, thunderous applause could be heard there as Abbotsford MP Ed Fast, then Minister of International Trade, announced $30 million in federal funding for research and technology development to the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC), an industry-led network dedicated to aerospace innovation.

3D printed aviation parts at ADSE

For those keen on industry news, they heard UrtheCast, a Vancouver-based technology firm developing the world’s first Ultra HD video feed of Earth, streamed from space in full colour, announce at Tradex its plans to expand its Earth Observation data stream by operating state-of-the-art sensors on the NASA segment of the International Space Station.

Chinook Helicopters also announced its MOU with China Aviation Industrial Base of Shaanxi, China to provide helicopter training services and other support to the growing commercial helicopter market there.

And Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group based in the U.K. announced the Abbotsford International Airport as the site of its North American hub for strategic growth.

Parm Sidhu, Abbotsford Airport general manager, has a keen interest in ADSE, and is particularly excited with news that the Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) will be tag-teaming with ADSE and the airshow to bring some 20 aircraft for indoor and outdoor displays in 2017.

“Great things are happening in B.C.,” said Sidhu. “ADSE and now the CBAA will give aerospace an even greater voice.”

ADSE, because of its location at Tradex, is Canada’s only expo connected to a major airshow. And because of the timing, the Abbotsford International Airshow’s Friday-night twilight event is now an after-dinner treat for ADSE delegates.

Meet Jeff Massey, Farm to Table Chef

Q: What is Restaurant 62 (R62) and what is the secret to your success?

R62 is a stand-alone, farm-to-table restaurant that has been serving the Fraser Valley for a decade. I have been working in kitchens and, as a chef, for the past 25 years, and wanted to bring the ‘Vancouver dining experience’ to the Valley. Even though Abbotsford was a chain-restaurant community, I recognized the opportunity and decided to take the plunge.

Our secret is to simply to put good food on the table and to keep people coming back. The rest of the dining experience brings great service, and a wine list that best complements the food.

Q: Why did you decide to become a farm-to-table restaurant?

Truth be told, initially, we didn’t set out to be a farm-to-table destination. I was used to the Vancouver scene where you couldn’t source farm-fresh ingredients easily, but I would drive to and from the restaurant, around the local neighbourhoods, and just saw beautiful mountains, farms, and rolling pastures. I became inspired, and then the farmers came in to experience R62 and we started developing relationships.

I visited their farms, met their families, and learned about their philosophies and relationship to the land. I felt their pride and knew how emotionally invested they were in the foods that they produced. The quality of the food wasn’t comparable to anything else I could source, and the taste spoke for itself. The savings and reduced carbon footprint were added benefits as deliveries were made from within a few miles.

It just made sense.

Our team was challenged and forced to be creative as we were given seasonal products. Sometimes, we planned a longer run with a menu item, but had to cut it short due to uncontrollable weather fluctuations. People care about where their food comes from, and we can answer those questions. We watch our guests’ faces light up when they see familiar farms on the menu, and they feel great knowing they are supporting their very own community. The gifts of buying locally and supporting local farms has been rewarding in so many ways, and Abbotsford has a very strong community built around supporting one another.

Q: Has Abbotsford embraced R62 and what changes have you witnessed within the community?

At first, people thought of us as a special occasion restaurant—a place to celebrate your anniversary or birthday—but now they just see a team cooking up a storm in the kitchen, followed by smiles and welcoming hello’s. Our guests know that we are passionate about farm-to-plate and celebrating the landscape that Abbotsford has been blessed with.
We have watched a younger generation hit the ‘nail on the head’ as they pour their hearts into their businesses. People are picking their own fruit again, capturing the freshness and quality with canning, and abandoning chain-restaurants in favour of privately owned restaurants.

We’re going back to the way it once was.

Check out Jeff's Fresh Faces of Abby video story here.

Learn more about Restaurant 62.

Your guide to the Abbotsford Airshow

Photo Credit: Abbotsford Airshow 

With an action-packed lineup of superhero-themed activities and entertainment, this year’s Abbotsford International Airshow is set to keep you busy all weekend long.

“You don’t have to just sit on your blanket and watch airplanes. You’ll have a full day at the airshow,” said media coordinator Jadene Mah.

This annual event is now the largest Canadian airshow with an average annual attendance of 100,000 people. In 2014 it was named one of the best 10 airshows in the world and since adding the popular Twilight Show two years ago, it’s only getting bigger and better.

Friday night heroes light up the sky with lights, pyrotechnics, and flares in the Twilight Show. This display will be different from daytime shows even though there will be some of the same performers.

Photo Credit: Mona Lucas 

Meet your favourite Heroes of the Skies at the 54th annual Abbotsford International Airshow. Posters will be available for purchase on site and there will be many opportunities to get signatures from and selfies with your favourite performers. Here are some of the featured aerial acts.

• Canadian Forces Snowbirds
• CF-18 Hornet
• Canadian Forces Skyhawks
• Screamin Sasquach
• USN F/A-18 Super Hornet
• Breitling Jet Team
• Gary Rower
• HFF Spitfire Mk IV

From old to new, military to civilian, enjoy the variety of aircraft on static display. Here are a few of the displays to look forward to.

• USAF F-15 Eagle
• A-10 Thunderbolt
• Macdonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender
• Boeing C-17 Globemaster
• USN FA-18 Super Hornet
• USCG C-27J Spartan

Children will love the array of activities including inflatable toys, climbing wall, face painting, crafts, and interactive aerospace presentations.

Photo Credit: Abbotsford Airshow 

• August 12-14, 2016
• Friday gates open at 3:30 p.m. and close at 10:30 p.m.
• Saturday and Sunday gates open at 9 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.
• The Airshow will be located at YXX Abbotsford International Airport

Tickets can be purchased in advanced or on show day, for single days or for the entire weekend. Parking is included with the ticket price and kids aged six and under are free. Kidsworld members enter free with an adult admission.

• Purchase tickets online here
• Purchase advance tickets at any Lower Mainland Save-on-Foods
• Purchase tickets on show days from the King Road entrance


General admission—free onsite parking, access to general seating area, static display, kids zone, ground exhibits, and concessions
Runway seating—this ticket upgrade gives you a reserved seat all day on the front show line (for 2016 the section numbering has changed, see the website for more information)
Flight club—this ticket upgrade adds front show line viewing and  entrance to a beach-bar style seating area
Panasonic Photo Pit—bring your camera, lenses, and all your gear! This ticket gives you a frontline view of the airshow, patio-style seating, light dinner, pop and water, run up photo shoot, souvenir airshow program, and more
President’s Club—this all-inclusive admission package includes outdoor seating at patio tables with sun umbrellas and show-centre view of the action in the sky.

• Sunscreen
• Sunglasses
• Hat
• Refillable water bottle
• Lawn chair, blanket, umbrella
• Earplugs (this is a loud event)
• Comfortable shoes

• Pets
• Alcohol
• Hard-sided coolers
• Tents
• Cigarettes

With weekend camping packages, shuttles between onsite areas, fully plumbed washrooms, beer gardens, food trucks, shopping, and more, now is the time to plan your family’s best three-day weekend of the summer.

The show goes on rain or shine. Come see why the Abbosford International Airshow is Canada’s National Airshow.

Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city.

Follow Tourism Abbotsford on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and share along your journey with the hashtag #ExploreAbbotsford. We can't wait to see what you get up to!

More from #ExploreAbbotsford:

Top 10 Adventures in Abbotsford 
107 Days of Summer in Abbotsford 
5 Places to Explore with Kids
Fresh Faces of Abby Series 

Events Calendar 

Tradex built in 100 days and one Knight

Ron Price, visionary founding chairman of Airshow Canada and long-time director of the Abbotsford International Airshow, is acutely aware of how Tradex was built in 100 days. Within one hour of leaving a final meeting with Transport Canada and then BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo) and getting final approval to build the 120,000 square foot facility, renowned Abbotsford contractor, former fellow Abbotsford Airshow board member and family friend Les Knight called his crew waiting on-site in their bulldozers and excavators that day, and said GO!


The paint was still wet
The 1991 Airshow Canada had already signed up hundreds of exhibitors and forecasted thousands of visitors from around the world for the event, but had precious little time . . . only the 100 days left until the first day of the show “when the paint was still wet,” said Price.

“Man, he [Knight] built it. Fifty countries were at that show. It was a lot of work, a lot of fun. A lot of good people put it together with incredible cooperation from the federal, provincial and municipal governments and the world’s aviation community,” he said. “Les made it happen . . . he was a great leader in construction.”
Price said Tradex is a huge asset, hosting big shows. “It’s a gem of a facility. We’re lucky to have it.”

And so it begins
The genesis of Tradex, writes Kelly Knight (Les’ daughter) in an MSA Museum-inspired book entitled Abbotsford – From Village to City; a Commitment to Excellence and Innovation, is directly linked with the “development and success of the international aviation and aerospace tradeshow.”   The article, on page 35 of the book by Robert Martens and Anneleen van Dyck, is a compelling read.

It shows how the support from people like Expo 86 Commissioner General Patrick Reid and others who believed in inviting the world’s aviation and aerospace community (among them Airshow board members Price, Knight, Al Hurtubise, Les Kerr and Darcy Rezac) to Abbotsford, plus a $100,000 initial infusion from the Abbotsford International Airshow, finally resulted in the need for a permanent exhibition structure in 1991. The first time Airshow Canada was held in Abbotsford in 1989, it was accommodated within two temporary 80,000 square foot white tents on the site.

From Airshow Canada to ADSE
Airshow Canada was a spectacle indeed. “It legitimized the show in terms of business and aerospace when we in Abbotsford were known more for being Top Gun,” said Kelly.

“Airshow Canada 1991 was successfully opened in Tradex with a Canadian Forces CF18 dual flyby. It featured 500 exhibitors and welcomed 12,000 visitors with professional interests from more than 50 countries. Continuing with the international aviation presence, there were SU27s, IL76 Candids, a Mig31 Foxhound, KA32 Helix helicopter (all Russian), and a Romanian Yak55 aerobatic plane at Airshow Canada,” said Kelly.

The final Airshow Canada was held at Tradex in 1997, but other shows focusing on aviation and defence have evolved at Tradex. (Be sure to read our next Tales from Tradex blog post featuring ADSE (Aerospace, Defence and Security Expo).

Mark Rushton, former Abbotsford International Airshow director from 1982 to 1998 and long-time editor of The Abbotsford News, recalls the special efforts of Ron Price in the glory years of Airshow Canada and Tradex. “He was a great personality, a family man dedicated to Airshow Canada. He and Les Knight certainly contributed significantly to tourism, aviation, and the community.”

A few laughs along the way
Former Tradex director of operations Vali Marling, now manager of Anvil Centre in New Westminster, recalled some of the funnier stories related to Tradex and the Airshow.

“When the jets flew over the building it would shake. When the big U.S. planes would fly over us as we sat in our offices, dog hair [resulting from the dog and pet shows] would sometimes fall from the ceiling vents.”

And then there was the time Marling organized the mud-spattered sod-turning for Tradex, when it was pouring rain and the guests were dressed formally.

A sense of humour went a long way in those early days of Tradex.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and share along your journey with the hashtag #ExploreAbbotsford. We can't wait to see what you get up to!

More from #ExploreAbbotsford:

Top 10 Adventures in Abbotsford 
107 Days of Summer in Abbotsford 
5 Places to Explore with Kids
Fresh Faces of Abby Series 

Events Calendar 

Abbotsford's Agrifair

Celebrate Abbotsford’s rich farming history at the 2016 Abbotsford Agrifair. With a focus on promoting the importance of agriculture, this year’s fair will showcase the Gate to Plate program. Participants from 4-H Clubs across British Columbia will educate visitors on where our food comes from.

Held at Exhibition Park, you’ll be greeted by llamas, rabbits, donkeys and maybe even a buffalo as you enter the fair. Head over to the Thunderbowl and enjoy in the mini chuckwagon races and chariot racing. Take advantage of the centre grassy area and relax by the misting tents.

What’s New for 2016

Emphasising family fun, this year’s fair features an indoor family area with parents’ room for kids who need a break. Inside you’ll also find loads of activities like mini golf, climbing wall, Science World shows, video games, arts and crafts, and more.

All weekend long enjoy roving entertainment from clowns, magicians, drum bands, balloon artists, and on-site games with Gallery 7.

Shooting Star Amusements is bringing new rides for the family-friendly midway and each evening a community-chosen movie will play on a 33-foot screen. 


Featured Attractions

This year’s fair is action packed and full of surprises. With demonstrations from Twisters gymnasts, BC Buzz Honey, Fraser Valley Antique Farm Machinery Association, and Laughing Stock Ranch, these new and returning attractions ensure there is something for everyone at the 2016 Abbotsford Agrifair.

Make sure to visit Poultry in Motion and Mobile Dairy Classroom and don’t miss the horseshoeing and sheep shearing demos.

And back for a third year, the Country Horse Classic show features wheelbarrow races as well as the hilarious horse and hound show.

See for the full list of attractions.

Live Shows

This year’s live shows are an exciting mix of new and returning acts throughout the long weekend.

Enjoy shows like Richards Racing Pigs and Ducks, X Corps Drumline, wrestling, and the West Coast Lumberjack Show. The popular demolition derby is back and has an entire parking lot dedicated to the smashing good time.

New for 2016 is the Global FMX Motorsports and Sport Bike show and Segway education road safety zone.Yuk Yuk’s Abbotsford and CiVL radio talent contest winners will take to the main stage throughout the weekend and community groups will provide fair-goers with strolling entertainment.

With an emphasis on family fun, affordability, and agricultural awareness and education, this year’s fair aims to be the best little country fair on earth. From July 29 through July 31 enjoy the country fair with weekend passes from $15. Visit for more information.

Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and share along your journey with the hashtag #ExploreAbbotsford. We can't wait to see what you get up to!

More from #ExploreAbbotsford:

Top 10 Adventures in Abbotsford 
107 Days of Summer in Abbotsford 
5 Places to Explore with Kids
Fresh Faces of Abby Series 

Events Calendar 

Top 10 Adventures in Abbotsford

The BC Summer Games are in Abbotsford from July 21 to 24th. We're excited to welcome all the participants, families and friends to our city. Find time in between competitions and take a few hours to explore these exciting ideas and adventures below. Go Abby Games! 

1. Circle Farm Tour

While in Abbotsford, don’t miss our Circle Farm Tour. This self-guided tour takes you through our country side and will lead you to a variety of specialty farm gate vendors, charming eateries, a barn full of antiques and the best ice cream you will ever eat. Download Guide 

2. Historic Downtown

Walk through the heart of Abbotsford and discover vintage stores, charming boutiques and delicious eateries while in Historic Downtown. It’s the perfect meld of past and present, where you will find unique restored heritage buildings and shopping.

3. Castle Fun Park

A free-admission, family amusement park offering year round excitement for everyone. From mini golf, go carts, batting cages and arcade games, Castle Fun Park is a great place to bring the kids for an afternoon in Abbotsford. 

4. Beer & Wine Tour

Sip, Savour and Share on the Abbotsford Beer & Wine Tour! Download the map to start your self-guided tour of our local craft breweries and wineries. While tasting, take time to discover the unique flavours of our valley. Download Map 

5. Walks, Trails & Mountain Biking

Enjoy the great outdoors with the whole family in Abbotsford's 157 parks consisting of over 2,584 acres of parkland and 98 kilometers of urban trails. From Mill Lake Park to Sumas Mountain, there is so much terrain to be discovered by you. More info here. Photo Credit: Mona Lucas

6. Comedy Show 

Enjoy a laugh at Canada’s national stand-up comedy club, Yuk Yuk’s. Shows run nightly Wednesday to Saturday. Check out their website to see who's in town while you're here. 

7. Visit a Museum

Abbotsford is a city rich in talent, culture and history. While you check out all the museums, galleries, & artisans, don't forget to tour all the public art that can be found throughout Abbotsford. More info here. 

8. Shopping

Let us be your guide as you hunt for those one-of-a-kind items during your stay. Sevenoaks Shopping Centre is centrally located and likely has all that you need. If you’re looking for an outdoor shopping centre, check out Highstreet – a new, open-air shopping centre located at Mt.Lehman interchange. 

9. Golfing

The lush greenery of Abbotsford is home to a variety of courses that are open year-round! Regardless of your swing, there is a tee waiting for you. During your next stay, take a visit to Fraserglen or Ledgeview Golf Course. More info here.

10. Skydiving

Seeking thrill & adventure? Why not book a trip with Vancouver Skydive and experience the Drop Zone which is located in scenic Abbotsford. All of their Tandem Skydives are done with an experienced and qualified Tandem Instructors!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and share along your journey with the hashtag #ExploreAbbotsford. We can't wait to see what you get up to!

More from #ExploreAbbotsford:

107 Days of Summer in Abbotsford 
5 Places to Adventure with Kids
Fresh Faces of Abby Series 

Events Calendar 

Tradex: Living, Breathing Space Marks 25 Years

Tradex in Abbotsford is a living, breathing space.  Just watch it.  Show after show, event after event, Tradex inhales the wares, displays, and people, takes a short break so its patrons can savour the moment, then exhales so it can begin its next breath.

Since its birth on July 28, 1991, the Fraser Valley Trade and Exhibition Centre (Tradex) has created a kaleidoscope of memories for those who have walked through its doors. Add to that the millions of dollars of economic development impact it has on the City of Abbotsford and the region and you can begin to understand its role in helping Abbotsford become the Hub of the Fraser Valley.

Tradex turns 25 later this month, and Tourism Abbotsford/Tradex executive director Craig Nichols is planning to mark the occasion with a get-together of special guests. In addition, you’ll find a series of bi-monthly blog posts on the facility’s website that will capture the priceless stories that cause key show organizers to crack a smile.

Imagine if the Tradex walls could talk.

Its 120,000 square foot H-frame, with a base that was one of the largest concrete pours in the region at the time, has been home to the stars of the film American Graffiti (Candy Clark, Paul Le Mat, Bo Hopkins), Jerry Mathers aka Theodore The Beaver Cleaver, HGTV’s affable handyman Mike Holmes, and of course Henry Winkler, The Fonz from Happy Days.

From hockey greats, to famous chefs and soap stars, to the Batmobile.

Brad Styba, who was there as a contractor for Tradex from the day its huge hangar-like doors rolled open, is full of stories.  He has seen the great personalities like Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Eddy Shack, and others who gathered at the facility for the impressive Hockey Tour 92.

Styba has dealt with locals rehearsing for the Business in Black dance team, watched Overhaulin’s Chip Foose share his hotrod stories. and bumped into actors from The Young and the Restless and members from of The Real Housewives of Vancouver. He witnessed bears, eagles, hawks and even electronic dinosaurs grace his stage as his two-way staff communicator crackled.

Graham Kerr the famed Galloping Gourmet chef and the 1960s dynamic duo’s Batmobile (visiting with its creator George Barris at the BC Classic & Custom Car Show) have also been “in the house.”

Styba is now managing director, business development at Tradex. For the last six years he has been an employee of Tourism Abbotsford.

Recycling, rainwater, and a culinary team of its own.

He and Nichols (who has been with Tradex for two years since he arrived from his position as Flyover Canada general manager) are keen to share the amazing recycling efforts of Tradex, its rainwater collection system, the power-saving lighting upgrades, its culinary team lead by Chef Michel Gagnon, the incredible staff, and the shows that attract some 350,000 people each year.

Styba fondly reflects on the first Fraser Valley Boat and Sportsmen’s Show at Tradex, when they had no overflow parking and had to redirect 1,000 cars onto the Abbotsford International Airport apron. He has seen Tradex, the second-largest facility of its kind in B.C., dressed as the North Pole, a nursery, a wedding reception hall for 2,500, a high-brow awards venue, a volleyball centre, an educational facility, a business and sports card showcase, and among other things, a celebratory place to bring in a new year.

There is so much to tell — too much for one blog post — so we’ll be back with more tales from Tradex.

Party time.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary, Tradex is inviting several friends, partners and suppliers to enjoy food prepared by Chef Michel Gagnon and his team. The celebration includes speeches and a cameo by former Tourism Abbotsford executive director Dan Stefanson. Lisa Adrianne Witt will perform on the piano.

“In addition to providing enormous economic benefits for the community, Tradex has acted as a gathering place for the past 25 years,” said Nichols. “We’re looking forward to sharing some of the stories that have played out here during this time.”

Top 5 Summer Events

1. Berry Beat Festival

Let the fun and festivities of summer begin with the 35th Annual Berrybeat Festival. Bring the family down to enjoy and explore beautiful Historic Downtown Abbotsford during this two day festival celebrating local music, agriculture, and community.

When: July 9 (9am – 6pm) & July 10 (9am – 4pm)
Where: Montrose and Essendene Avenue, Abbotsford


2. BeerBQ

BeerBQ in Abbotsford is a spectacular culinary experience that pairs the best BBQ pitmasters with BC craft brewmasters. Staged with the Fraser Valley backdrop of hop fields in full bloom, guests meander from tent to tent tasting great food and sipping equally great beer. Don't miss your chance to taste a bit of Abbotsford.

When: July 16
Where: Kinloch Farms 1893 Cole Road, Abbotsford
Website Tickets


3. Abbotsford BC Summer Games 

As many as 3600 participants will be coming to Abbotsford to compete in 18 different sports all around the community. Abbotsford is the perfect outdoor destination offering hiking, mountain biking, fishing, golf and water sports. With more than 2,400 acres of parkland and a 33 km paved outdoor trail system, this will be an amazing 4 day event for you, your family & friends to be involved with or enjoy watching.

When: July 21 - 24
Where: Abbotsford Exhibition Park & Various Community Locations
Volunteer Opportunities 


4. AgriFair

There’s something for everyone at the Annual Abbotsford Agrifai, the best little country fair sice 1911! Traditionally when people think of an agriculture fair, they think animals, tractors, and farmers. Agrifair is still proud to present many of your favourite and memorable agricultural attractions, but they have so much more planned for 2016.

When: July 29 – 31
Where: Exhibition Park, 32470 Haida Drive, Abbotsford


5. The Abbotsford INTERNATIONAL Airshow

The keystone annual event-- The Abbotsford International Airshow is an aviation festival that has grown well beyond its borders over the past 5 decades while beginning in 1962. Abbotsford Airshow will feature diverse aerial and aviation-related displays, and offer exciting entertainment to all ages. As well, don’t miss the twilight show featuring beautiful fireworks on Friday evening.

When: August 12 - 14
Where: Abbotsford International Airport, 1595 Townline Rd, Abbotsford 

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and share along your journey with the hashtag #ExploreAbbotsford. We can't wait to see what you get up to!

More from #ExploreAbbotsford:

107 Days of Summer in Abbotsford 
5 Places to Adventure with Kids
Fresh Faces of Abby Series 

Events Calendar 

Abbotsford Rice Paddies Thriving

Table Rice Field, Abbotsford 

For five years Masa and Yukiko Shiroki have farmed rice paddies in Abbotsford. In the summer if you venture behind EcoDairy off Sumas Way, you’ll find the husband and wife team knee-deep in the flooded fields, weeding. “It’s day-in day-out weeding until September,” said Masa.

Although possible to weed the four acres using specialized machines imported from Japan, the Shiroki’s must also spend time hand planting rice in areas where the ducks and geese have feasted, leaving notable gaps.

“It’s part of the game” he said, explaining birds love eating the rice seed in the spring but once they migrate they’re not such a disturbance.

Rice Seeds

Started from seed in greenhouses, the seedlings are transplanted to the paddies by machine in late spring. Before planting, the field must be prepared.

“You flood the field until it’s mud soup. Then you till and plant,” he said. The machinery used for field preparation must be modified so it doesn’t get stuck in the mud.

These fields stay flooded for the entire growing season, which is why ducks and geese find the crops so attractive. The only rice paddies in Canada, this is also the most northerly rice production region in the world.

Sake Rice Field, Abbotsford

Masa said he grows rice in the Fraser Valley because it’s sustainable, he can control what goes into it, and he can educate local farmers about the industry.

Climate and rainfall in the Fraser Valley have helped rice production. After beginning with homegrown sake rice for their OSAKE premium sake winery on Granville Island, the Shiroki’s now also produce signature marinades and dressings from the sake by-product as well as organic rice for table rice. This year they’re also testing a crop of ancient rice, a type of ornamental rice.

Artisan Sake Winery, Granville Island

When harvest season comes in September, the rice is threshed with a specialized combine and processed similar to other grains.

Both sake and table rice are dried and dehusked in the same way. The table rice is then milled, packaged, and distributed to local retailers and the sake rice travels to the Artisan SakeMaker winery for fermentation.

Table Rice sold at Nature's Pickin's 

In Abbotsford, Nature’s Pickin’s Market carries the OSAKE marinade and dressing as well as BC Rice Northern Lite table rice. At the market, the response has been positive to the hyper-local product.

Masa has a passion for sustainable rice growing because rice production is pertinent to the pressing global need for food security and food sovereignty. He is proud he can call his OSAKE and table rice 100 per cent Canadian-made and hopes other farmers will be inspired to pursue rice growing in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada.

Visit Artisan SakeMaker for more information.

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