Farmfair International is to remain in Edmonton in the years ahead, despite a significant drop in attendance following the departure of the Canadian Finals Rodeo.
The fair will see an estimated 80,000 fewer visitors over its one-week span this year, according to Gordon Wilson, president of Northlands, which produces the annual event.
“We’re missing some traffic flow — there’s no question about that,” Wilson said.
Northlands had hosted the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) on the site for 44 years until its move to Red Deer this year.
Farmfair, now in its 45th year, is considered one of Canada’s top agricultural shows. Guests and exhibitors visit from across Canada and beyond to show, buy and sell livestock, as well as to network and share expertise.
For years, Kendra Fisher has exhibited cattle at the show from the farm she co-owns near Leduc, Alberta. She said the show has been quieter this year with a higher proportion of industry people over casual visitors, but still considers the experience invaluable.
“You’re meeting fellow exhibitors who are bringing in genetics that they feel are their strongest — that are their best,” Fisher said. “You’re also meeting people who come through as fellow farmers who want to know what you have to offer.”
Despite the lower attendance, ram sales are actually up this year — according to Northlands — as people form rural areas continue to make their way to the event.
Organizers plan to make some changes for next year, but say even without the CFR, the show will remain where it is.
“No question — we’ve been here for 45 years; we’re going to celebrate our 50th year coming up,” Wilson said. “Northlands itself, all its staff, volunteers are really working hard to make next year a roaring success.
Farmfair is set to wrap up on Sunday.