The event took place with COVID-19 measures in mind
By Diego Flammini
More than 80 Alberta farms welcomed visitors this past weekend as part of Open Farm Days.
The two-day event, now in its eighth year, helps showcase Alberta’s agriculture and tourism industries while providing entertainment and education.
This year, however, the event ran differently as the pandemic continues to loom.
Attendance was limited to 100 people including visitors, staff and volunteers. Host farms weren’t able to offer some activities, like wearing a bee suit, because it would be too difficult to sanitize, and each farm needed to have a response plan in place if a visitor showed signs of illness.
These rules complied with Stage 2 outdoor event guidelines set by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
The weekend seemed to go off without a hitch, even if people needed some time to get used to the new rules, said Sicco Zandt, owner of Prairie Skies Ranch in Sherwood Park, Alta. The farm is in its second year of participating in Open Farm Days.
“It was very successful – we had a nice flow of people coming and going on both days,” he told Farms.com. “People seemed to be more disciplined on Sunday than on Saturday. On Saturday, large groups of people all showed up at once. It was a little overwhelming, but we did our best to manage.”
Other host farms also had positive experiences on the weekend.
Kate and Andy Camps from High Country Berries in Innisfail, Alta. have been part of Open Farm Days since the event started eight years ago.
The outdoor space made it easier for people to keep distance, Kate said.
“We did have a couple people wearing masks but I don’t remember if they kept them on,” she told Farms.com. “We had hand sanitizers out, there was no crowding and people were very respectful.”