As events across Canada are postponed or cancelled, the team at Canadian Western Agribition informed stakeholders they are preparing for the 2020 event
On April 25, the team at Canadian Western Agribition (CWA) published an open letter stating they plan to hold the November 2020 event.
“We felt that it was pretty important to let all of our stakeholders, our partners, visitors and guests know that we're still committed to planning the show as we normally would in any other circumstance,” said Chris Lane, CEO of CWA.
The CWA team understands a lot of unknowns exist right now and the situation is subject to change. However, since this event takes all year to plan, they had to decide what to do early, said Lane.
“We looked at the situation and decided that we really weren't going to idle anything back or idle anything down. We still need to spend the months to come making sure that, if Agribition is able to proceed, we're ready to proceed at 100 per cent,” Lane told Farms.com. “We can't really afford to take any time away from the process if we hope to have an Agribition as great as it can be.”
The reason the CWA staff can be hopeful the 2020 show will go forward is due to the community effort, he said.
“We wouldn't be having the conversation about the optimism we have to hold Agribition if it weren't for the resiliency and the work that everybody in this province has done to follow those (public health) guidelines and be able to flatten the curve and have some good news on the horizon. We certainly appreciate that,” he said.
And Agribition supporters are very positive about having the event this year, said Lane.
“People are looking for something to look forward to or at least the hope of something that, if all works out, can go ahead as planned. I think Agribition is a bit special that way. We're not just a business event, we're not just an entertainment event and we're not just a family event. We're kind of all three of those things rolled into one, which makes (Agribition) pretty special for people,” said Lane.
If the event can happen this fall, CWA will take direction from public health officials on changes that may need to be made, said Lane.
“The new normal will be extra hand washing, extra public information, and lots of extra hand sanitizing opportunities throughout the show. I think that's just what public events are going to be from now on. We certainly expect Agribition to fall into that. We're not public health experts but we'll be sure take the lead from those who are. We'll follow the science and the guidelines,” he said.
Like most events these days, Agribition staff don’t know what the fall will hold, but they’re open to what the show could look like.
“We'll be ready for any kind of combination of what those guidelines look like – whether it's around public gatherings, whether we incorporate virtual or more online livestock sales for example,” said Lane. “We're planning, hoping and intending for a public Agribition as it normally is. If that looks like it can't be the case in the fall, well, we'll have to look at other options and see what the show can be.”
Photo credit: Canadian Western Agribition