Manitoba Ag Ex cancelled due to COVID-19

Move comes following cancelled winter and summer fairs

Strike off another ag event due to the ongoing pandemic.

The 2020 Ag Ex, which was scheduled for this October, has been cancelled by the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba, a move the group describes as a “difficult decision.”

“The health and safety of our community is of the utmost importance,” said Greg Crisanti, president of the PEM.

He cited health concerns due to the ongoing pandemic and the provincially mandated regulations to protect public health and safety.

Earlier in the pandemic the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, Manitoba Summer Fair and various other events were cancelled. But while the Ag Ex format was changed, organizers had remained “cautiously optimistic” the event could go ahead, especially the livestock show.

“The current evolving situation and the regulations for public safety mean we must step back,” a media release said.

They also acknowledged cancellation would hurt the cattle industry that used the show as an opportunity to showcase and market cattle.

“What’s even more difficult is this doesn’t just affect our organization. There are many businesses that rely on our events to generate revenue to support their families,” said Crisanti. “We are intertwined with the fabric of the community in so many ways.”

The events hosted by the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba were expected to generate more than $18 million in economic impact for the community in 2020 and create hundreds of jobs, including first-time job opportunities for many youths, the release noted.

The Provincial Exhibition and the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions (CAFE) are calling for the federal government to financially support such events.

“Our industry has a very short seasonal window that has now all but passed. Events specifically have one shot to generate revenue for the next 365 days and we’ve lost that. This is particularly challenging operating as a non-profit,” says Christina Franc, executive director of CAFE. “This is why we are calling on the government to provide federal support to our industry.”

The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba will continue to monitor the evolving COVID situation and will update the public on the status of future events.

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