WINNIPEG — The Red River Ex was holding out hope, becoming one of the last major summer events to pull the plug owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Red River Exhibition announced Tuesday it will cancel this year’s event, scheduled for June 12-21.
“Entertainers, musicians, vendors, food trucks, midway employees and the like are all affected. It doesn’t just hit us here in Winnipeg — it affects an entire Canadian industry,” said Garth Rogerson, CEO, Red River Exhibition Association.
It’s the first time in the association’s 71-year history that the Red River Ex has been cancelled.
“We’ve faced many years of really bad weather but nothing that would ever jeopardize the health and safety of our volunteers, staff and guests. It is only now that the COVID-19 outbreak would cause us, with heavy hearts, to cancel the 2020 edition of the Red River Ex.”
Rogerson says work has been happening behind the scenes with North American Midway Entertainment, which supplies equipment for fairs all across Canada, including Calgary Stampede, Edmonton’s K-Days, Regina’s Queen City Ex, the Saskatoon Ex and the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.
“Our national fair industry contributes a total of $48 million to local economies and when one cancels there is a huge ripple effect that occurs,” Rogerson said.
The cancellation of the Ex is said to have an economic impact of about $16 million in Manitoba.
Anyone who has already purchased tickets online can hold on to them for next year or can email [email protected] for a refund.
The 2021 Red River Ex will take place on June 18-27, 2021.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, we've made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Red River Ex. After much consultation with the Canadian fair industry, government officials and our board, we know this is the right decision. Mark June 18 to 27, 2021 on your calendars. pic.twitter.com/EdsqyfmWIk
— Red River Ex (@RedRiverEx) April 28, 2020