Hundreds lined up outside the grounds of Exhibition Park in Lethbridge on Thursday afternoon, waiting for the gates to open on a September edition of Whoop-Up Days.
The event usually runs the last week of August but looks a little different this year due to construction, scheduling and because it was planned when the province still had COVID-19 restrictions.
Despite the differences, organizers said the turnout on Night 1 exceeded their expectations.
“We weren’t sure going into this year what to expect,” said Lethbridge and District Exhibition director of communications Mevisha Maistry. “But we’re happy to see the community come together and enjoy the event.”
Getting through the gates this year involves an extra step. People are required to undergo a mandatory temperature check as they enter.
Those looking to get their COVID-19 vaccine can do so on the grounds as Alberta Health Services has a vaccination clinic open for walk-in vaccinations in the West Pavilion on Friday, Sept. 3 and Saturday, Sept. 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Exhibition Park is also employing additional public health measures for the benefit of all who are visiting the venue both indoors and outdoors:
- Lethbridge & District Exhibition staff will be required to take a mandatory rapid screen test each day from Sept. 2-5 to begin their shift with a negative screen result.
- Lethbridge & District Exhibition staff will be required to wear masks indoors and outdoors while on shift and interacting with guests.
- Lethbridge & District Exhibition have increased their communications to staff to reinforce the importance of personal preventative measures such as staying home when ill, wearing PPE and proper handwashing.
- Additional hand sanitization stations will be placed throughout the venue and exhibition grounds.
- High-contact areas are consistently monitored for cleanliness. Cleaning and housekeeping staff will sanitize commonly touched areas including pavilion door handles, railings, washrooms and portable outhouses.
- Signage will be placed throughout the venue to remind guests of personal preventive measures they can take to avoid the spread of germs.
Hours were purposefully planned to avoid any interference with the COVID-19 vaccination clinic operating at Exhibition Park. Thursday’s festivities were scheduled for 4 p.m. to11 p.m., with Friday set for 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.