Manitoba Summer Fair cancelled due to COVID-19

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Photo: (Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba)

(submitted:Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba)

APRIL 3.2020 BRANDON, MB – The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Manitoba Summer Fair.

“The health and safety of our community is of the utmost importance,” said Ron Kristjansson, General Manager.

Due to the current health concerns related to the global pandemic of COVID-19, as well as the provincially mandated regulations for public health and safety, the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba made this difficult decision.

The summer fair is one of the earliest fairs of the season, and after having to cancel the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, a flagship event, our board decided this is the most fiscally and socially responsible action to take at this time. The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba will continue to monitor the evolving COVID situation and will update the public on the status of future events.

“We hope to be the exception, rather than the rule for events in Manitoba, and furthermore in Canada, this summer,” said Kristjansson.

Kristjansson added, “None of this could happen without the dedication and hard work of the staff here at the Provincial Exhibition, as well as the countless volunteers, so I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to each one of them.”

“What’s even more difficult is this doesn’t just affect our fair. There are hundreds of local businesses who rely on our events to generate revenue to support their families,” said Kristjansson, “we are intertwined with the fabric of the community in so many ways. Everyone is hurting right now and while we want to help our community through celebration, we cannot commit to that right now.”

The summer and winter fair combined generate approximately $18 million in annual economic impact. The activities also create hundreds of jobs, including first-time job opportunities for youth.

The Provincial Exhibition is working closely with the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions (CAFE) to advocate to the federal government for financial support to continue the legacy of events like their own.

“Fairs and exhibitions rely on a very short season where they also build civic engagement, raise awareness in agriculture and foster community spirit. These historical organizations operate as non-profits and are at risk of closing forever if there isn’t targeted funding and support for the industry,” says Christina Franc, Executive Director of CAFE. “We need the federal government to support fairs like the Manitoba Summer Fair, and hundreds of fairs and exhibitions like it that are scheduled to ramp up with summer approaching.”

Nevertheless, the Provincial Exhibition will do everything in its power to continue to bring high quality community events for years to come, continuing to be an integral part of the community as we have been for more than 138 years.

“We are committed to producing the events our community needs, but when the time is right,” says Kristjansson.