Will the Saskatoon Exhibition happen this year?
SASKATOON -- After exhibitions set for the summer in Edmonton (K-Days) and Calgary (Calgary Stampede) were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Saskatoon Exhibition could be next.
“It really depends on the province, and what’s allowed as far as public gatherings go,” said Kristy Rempel, marketing manager at Prairieland Park.
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The Saskatoon Exhibition is scheduled to run from Aug. 4-9 at Prairieland Park.
“Saskatchewan’s a different jurisdiction than Alberta, we’re seeing different COVID cases and things like that,” said Rempel, who added they’re preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best.
“We’re assuming that we are going forward, so we’ll need a website, print material that says pricing, and things like that,” she said. “We’re doing what we can now, but we’re also trying really hard not to incur any cost, in case we do have to inevitably postpone or cancel.”
Sarah Berger with Saskatoon Tourism says the summer months are big for the city’s economy.
“In previous years we’ve welcomed 2.8, 2.9 million visitors to Saskatoon over the years, and that’s about $560 million spent to the visitor economy,” she said. “You usually see the downtown alive, all the festivals happening on the river and around the city, and this year it’s going to look a little bit different.”
Berger says 2020 started out strong for tourism in Saskatoon, and the cancellation of the Junos in March was the first of many around the city.
“When you’re talking about events in the city and them being cancelled, it’s not just the impact of the event being cancelled. It’s the impact to restaurants, hotels, other locals businesses,” she said.
“It’s just so much more that we’re missing out this year.”
Several annual events in Saskatoon have already been cancelled or postponed and Rempel says she hopes the exhibition won’t have to be.
“We are so optimistic and hopeful that we will be able to do this event,” she said. “Not only for us, but also for the community. Just to be able to go and do something, to be outside, to have connection again and gathering. That’s really what we’re all about.”