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Ag Ex plans to go forward

Baxter Blair, age 13, of McLean, Sask., gets busy grooming as he prepares for his turn in the ring at the 2015 Manitoba Ag Ex.

EVENTS | Plans are underway for the first major ag fair since the start of the pandemic, slated for late October, if health orders allow

The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba is planning for an in-person Ag Ex, as long as health orders allow.

The Brandon agricultural fair (one of three typically held annually by the exhibition) would be the first time such a large-scale, in-person agricultural event returns to the province since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Planning is underway. We’re very optimistic that the event will go through come fall and late October, so we’re very excited about that,” exhibition president Greg Crisanti said.

Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba events have been on ice since the start of the pandemic.

Plans are contingent on the province’s status with COVID-19, and any health orders that may still be in effect when the event rolls around October 27-29, he cautioned.

Few details on the event’s agenda have yet been determined. Ag Ex typically hosts the Manitoba Finals Rodeo and a horse show, as well as at least one national cattle breed show, along with smaller, more localized cattle shows, trade shows and agricultural education exhibitors.

While health orders still currently limit gathering sizes, Crisanti said the exhibition could not hold off making the decision around the event, given the typical planning timeframe.

“An event of this size, obviously, takes quite a bit of time and planning — staff hours, volunteer hours,” he said. “It wasn’t a decision that we could make later in the summer, say, in August and have this event rolled out properly for the October timeline.”

The prospect of an in-person event takes some stress off the exhibition, which was forced to cancel all three of its events last year, as well as the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and Manitoba Summer Fair in 2021.

The three fairs are typically main-income drivers for the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba.

The organization turned to a number of smaller fundraising events in the last year to take some financial sting out of the pandemic’s impacts, some of which may follow the exhibition even after health orders are lifted, Crisanti noted.

Plans are also underway for 2022’s Royal Manitoba Winter Fair.

About the author

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Alexis Stockford

Alexis Stockford is a journalist and photographer with the Manitoba Co-operator. She previously reported with the Morden Times and was news editor of  campus newspaper, The Omega, at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. She grew up on a mixed farm near Miami, Man.

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