By Herald on January 25, 2021.
Lethbridge & District Exhibition announced Monday afternoon that they have rescheduled three upcoming trade and consumer shows in Lethbridge, to comply with current Alberta Health Services and Government of Alberta health and safety guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This has been on our minds for a while now, especially when this new round of restrictions came in before Christmas,” says Mike Warkentin, Chief Operating Officer of Lethbridge & District Exhibition. “Ideally, we wouldn’t have to postpone, but the protection and safety of everyone is the main priority, so abiding and certainly understanding of these regulations, we wanted to give ourselves, our vendors and our consumers who come to these events the greatest opportunity in order to pull this off.”
The rescheduled events include the Southern Alberta RV Expo which has been postponed to Feb. 25- March 6, the Agriculture Expo and North American Seed Fair being moved to March 17 through 19, as well as the Southern Alberta Home & Garden Show being rescheduled for April 7-10.
“Right now, we are approximately one month away from where AG Expo is set to begin, so by moving these it gives us a larger window for some of these restrictions to potentially relax and for us to be able to open up and run trade shows as we were permitted to do in the fall of last year,” says Warkentin.
“With heavy social distancing, as well as pre and at venue screening protocols at the event, that is our hope and it gives us seven weeks for the potential of Alberta’s situation to be under control, but we understand obviously that the health and safety of everybody involved is key.”
Marketing on the trends of the pandemic to get into the outdoors, Lethbridge & District Exhibition were excited to showcase their new Southern Alberta RV Expo, and still hope to do so, as well as the two other shows that showcase the work of many local small businesses.
“The Southern Alberta RV Show was going to be a new signature event that we were introducing this year. That one we hope to still introduce to the market with the increased interest since COVID started. We worked with our industry partner there and are really excited to present an exciting event for southern Alberta,” says Warkentin.
“When we are talking about AG Expo and the Home and Garden Show, those are staples, and those represent opportunity for anywhere between 600 and 800 small- to medium-sized businesses to have market access, to have interaction ahead of season to help start that business going into the busy months. “We were anticipating around 600 small businesses being involved between the two shows so it really is a driver of the local economy in those busy months.”
With the potential for changing restrictions, Lethbridge & District Exhibition is hoping they will be able produce the expos in a timely matter with the seasons, as not only do many people look forward to the shows, but many people depend on exposure for business.
“We are watching what the next few weeks look like in the COVID situation. We know that we have a limited amount of time to be hosting these events because growing season will begin turning,” says Warkentin. “We only have a limited window of what we can work here, but the importance of running these local events on an annual basis for the local economy is too important not to try and get them into the calendar.”
Despite safety precautions Exhibition Park has in place, all events going forward, if government guidelines relax, will follow strict social distancing rules, advanced on-site screening of all guests and vendors, and well as comprehensive sanitization protocols.
For more information on these events, and possible changes around them, visit exhibitionpark.ca.
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