By Jensen, Randy on August 8, 2020.
Exhibition Park chief operating officer Mike Warkentin unveiled a stripped-down version of Whoop-Up Days for 2020 during a Friday media conference.
Due to ongoing public health restrictions surrounding COVID-19, events, mainly food-related, will be drive-thru only when the annual summer festival begins on Aug. 18.
During Whoop-Up Days week there will be daily food events. On kickoff Tuesday Umami Shop, in partnership with Fee Simple Law and Subaru of Lethbridge, will host a virtual gourmet pancake cooking class featuring locally sourced pancake-making kits provided by the shop starting at 7 a.m. There will also be a free (by pre-registration only) drive-thru pancake breakfast hosted by MP Rachael Harder between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. that day.
Those interested in the free breakfast will have to pre-register at http://www.rachaelharder.ca.
The National Potato Day Drive-Thru, hosted between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. by the Potato Growers of Alberta, Diamond Sun Farms and Gas King, will take place on Aug. 19.
The JUMBO Ears drive-thru, in partnership with Gas King, will be held between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Aug. 20.
And The Drive-Thru Food Truck Festival will cap off the week Aug. 21 and 22 between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
All drive-thru events will take place in the south parking lot at Exhibition Park. Half the funds raised through sales of food items during these events will be donated to local food banks through the Farm Credit Canada (FCC) Drive Away Hunger campaign.
Besides these food events, Exhibition Park will also host three additional contests: A Whoop-Up Days community decorating contest; a community colouring contest; and a community art contest.
Warkentin said this year’s Whoop-Up Days will allow local residents from across the region to mark this annual signature festival in a safe way.
“It’s exciting to be talking about good news in the event world,” said Warkentin. “It may be different this year, and it may be socially distanced, and you may not have the sights and sounds of the midways or the stage, but as we got talking about what needed to happen this year for the community we still needed to have some aspect of that community celebration.”
Warkentin credited Umami Shop owner Patricia Luu with helping to inspire this year’s version of Whoop-Up Days.
Luu felt Whoop-Up Days was just too important to the community to simply cancel entirely.
“We were so sad to hear Whoop-Up Days wasn’t going to happen this year because of what is obviously happening right now (with COVID),” she said. “We really wanted to keep that spirit up … We really wanted to create that community engagement and keep Whoop-Up Days in people’s minds.”
For more details on this year’s Whoop-Up Days events, and to order your gourmet pancake-making kits, visit http://www.whoopupdays.ca.
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