People enjoy the rides at Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Country Fest on Sunday. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

People enjoy the rides at Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Country Fest on Sunday. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Thousands enjoy the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Country Fest on the weekend

Thousands flock to the Albion Fairgrounds despite heat warnings and air quality advisories

Thousands attended the annual Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Country Fest over the weekend despite an ongoing air quality advisory and heat warnings for the region.

The air quality advisory was issued for eastern parts of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley because of high concentrations of ground-level ozone.

Ground-level ozone is formed when nitrogen oxides or pollutants that are emitted when fuels are burned, and volatile organic compounds that are emitted from solvents, react in the air in the presence of sunlight.

The highest levels of ground-level ozone are usually observed between mid-afternoon and early evening.

In addition there was a haze in the region due to a layer of wildfire smoke over the South Coast from wildfires burning in Eurasia and Alaska and a bog fire in Richmond.

People were advised to avoid strenuous outdoor activities during the mid-afternoon to early evening, especially those with infants, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions like lung or heart disease or asthma.

Sunday was also the hottest day on the weekend with temperatures expected to hit 27 C but feel even hotter.

This years festival featured a live musical showcase named after Spencer Creek to honour the former name of the Albion Fairgrounds when it was owned by the Spencer family. There was a pie eating contest for the first time in a decade and a Buy B.C. Village to encourage people to buy locally sourced food.

The classics also returned including the pig and duck races, the 4-H shows and the beer garden.

The fair was started by the Agriculture Association in 1901 to bring together rural and urban people in an atmosphere of wholesome entertainment and good sportsmanship.