Western Fair Association cancels all winter and spring 2021 shows and switches to virtual model

The Western Fair Agriplex.
The Western Fair Agriplex. Google Maps

The Western Fair District has announced the cancellation of the 2021 winter and spring show season to support the fight against the novel coronavirus.

The Western Fair Association (WFA) has not held any of its traditional shows or events since March to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

This means the cancellation of the 2021 Wine & Food Show, the Home & Outdoor Show, and the Beer and BBQ Show, among other events.

Organizers of the LHBA Lifestyle Home Show, London RV Show and London Boat Show have also cancelled their events at the district for 2021.

“The decision to cancel our owned and operated shows through the end of June reflects the current realities we are individually and collectively dealing with,” Reg Ash, CEO of the Western Fair Association, said in a statement.

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“The series of winter and spring events that our communities have supported for many years, and in some instances, decades are taking a break in 2021 for the health and safety of those very communities. We look forward to celebrating together when conditions permit.”

Read more: Virtual Western Fair to see augmented reality app, online contests, delivery boxes

In a statement, the WFA said the growing COVID-19 case counts, provincial health guidelines restricting trade shows, and continued closure of the U.S.-Canada border make the 2021 winter and spring season “impossible to deliver.”

In addition to that, the Western Fair District Agriplex, which traditionally houses large shows and events, continues to be at the ready as a temporary COVID-19 hospital.

The London Health Sciences Centre field hospital in the Agriplex on the Western Fair Ground. Photo Sawyer Bogdan. Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

However, all is not lost for those who enjoy the plethora of shows that usually happen throughout the year at the Western Fair District.

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Similar to the virtual take on the 2020 Western Fair, the WFA board has shifted gears to look at a new digital model.

The board said it hopes the new model will renew its commitment to agriculture and food and meet the needs of stakeholders.

Read more: Health experts push for ‘aggressive’ strategy called #COVIDZero to stamp out coronavirus

Part of the reimagined offering for 2021 will include a new video production space to host speakers and live demonstrations in a Ted Talk-style format to promote a wide variety of topics and interests.

“Our dedicated and passionate team is expanding on the successes of our earlier virtual content and has been working on ways to repackage and deliver some of our perennial favourites while maintaining our commitment to agri-food and education,” Ash said.

A new space will provide the ability to host small interactive live studio audience experiences, paired with local food, culinary, sommelier and cicerone sessions. It will also offer content on urban gardening, agri-food and agri-tech vlogs as well as education forums and business-to-business broadcasts.

The WFA is expected to unveil a number of these offerings early in the new year.

“The online series represents the collision of our traditional events + The Grove + digital programming and is another step toward updating our core mandate as a progressive 21st-century agricultural society,” said Ash.


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