Two more of Edmonton’s biggest summer festivals have announced the cancellation of their 2020 events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Northlands made the announcement Thursday morning, saying the 141st K-Days will be pushed back to July 2021.
“It was a decision we have been wrestling with and looking at as things developed over the last couple of months really,” Northlands president and CEO Peter Male said Thursday.
“One of the difficult things with a fair and a large event the scale of ours is that we affect so many things…both in the community and in large businesses that tour, that do the fair circuit.”
The 2020 festival was scheduled to run from July 17-26 at the Edmonton Exhibition Lands.
“It has a huge economic impact and it’s a massive part of our revenue and our health as an organization,” Male said.
Northlands said the decision came after overwhelming concerns about the novel coronavirus. The organization said it felt it was not possible to host the annual festival.
“We felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation,” Male said in a media release.
“We are very disappointed but we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.”
Male said the decision to cancel was an emotional one.
“It was emotional based on some of my memories growing up as a child, and also to those people that invested tons of time in having a much different product we were going to expose this year,” he explained.
Last summer, 702,327 people attended the 10-day fair.
Taste of Edmonton announced its cancellation Thursday afternoon, saying the decision was made to protect the health and safety of Edmontonians.
“We’re all heartbroken about it,” Events Edmonton general manager Donovan Vienneau said Thursday.
“It’s out of our control — it’s tough. I feel for all the festivals and charities we donate to. For ourselves, we’re disheartened.”
Vienneau said this would have been the event’s 36th year.
“Now more than ever, Edmontonians need the enjoyment of so many amazing local restaurants and entertainment. However, following the guidelines set out by governing bodies about mass gatherings, our organization felt strongly that Taste of Edmonton 2020 cannot proceed in these unprecedented times,” he said in a statement.
Taste of Edmonton looks forward to welcoming people back to the festival in 2021 at Churchill Square.
Also Thursday, Edmonton Heritage Festival organizers said they are hopeful some form of their event can go forward this summer.
“The cancellation of several Edmonton summer festivals is an unfortunate but understandable consequence of the COVID-19 crisis,” read a statement on the festival’s website.
“Planning continues for the Edmonton Heritage Festival which takes place in August, as we are hopeful that the situation will improve to the point where the state of emergency and other restrictions are lifted, and life returns to some sense of normalcy. We have been busy making contingency plans that modify our festival to allow for a ticketless event with greater spacing and many other improvements that make safety our first priority.”
Organizers said the festival doesn’t rely on acts travelling from outside Alberta, which allows them a later time frame to make a final decision.
“Any decisions regarding event cancellation will be based on guidance from the office of the chief medical officer of health for the province of Alberta, and will be in full cooperation with Edmonton’s multicultural communities, who are the heart and soul of the festival,” the statement read.
“Should circumstances require a cancellation of the outdoor version of the festival, other plans are in the works that may allow our patrons and cultural pavilions the opportunity to share and celebrate Canada’s multiculturalism through food, arts and dance.”
The cancellations come after a number of other Edmonton festivals postponed or cancelled their 2020 summer events.
For a full list of Edmonton festivals that have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.View link »