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Here's what you can expect at Lethbridge's Whoop-Up Days 2024

Whoop-Up Days returns to Lethbridge on Aug. 20-24, 2024. (CTV News) Whoop-Up Days returns to Lethbridge on Aug. 20-24, 2024. (CTV News)

Lethbridge’s largest festival will get underway in four months, with a variety of new and returning attractions.

Whoop-Up Days brought in a record 77,000 visitors in 2023, and while the Lethbridge and District Exhibition (LDE) anticipates that number to be high again, the cost of admission is returning.

“It really comes down to the guest experience and to sustainability,” said Kim Gallucci, LDE’s acting CEO.

The Aug. 20-24 festival will feature the Lethbridge and District Pro Rodeo, West Coast Amusements midway, Original 16 Stage and the Siksikaitsitapi Princess Pageant and Powwow.

“We’re able to do more,” Gallucci said. “We're able to offer more, especially with the bands and different things for people. Admission also allows us to ensure we have different areas covered and costs have come up – increase in security and all that.”

Whoop-Up Days will see an increase in the amount of live entertainment, covering five days rather than three.

Canadian band Big Sugar will rock the stage on the Friday night, while country band Emerson Drive will headline the final day on Saturday.

“The musical entertainment we’re able to add this year, the new rides from West Coast Amusement midway, the new family fun zone, we have all kinds of new things that we’re introducing, while still bringing that product forward,” said Paul Kingsmith, LDE’s director of community engagement.

This will be the first Whoop-Up Days since the City of Lethbridge and Lethbridge County took over the operation of the organization.

In January, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed to replace the board with city staff after the LDE failed to get additional funding to cover construction costs.

With Whoop-Up Days acting as the LDE’s largest event, Gallucci said it was paramount to host it.

He explained that it's currently costing $7 million to run the facility for one year. He expects to bring in $4.4 million in revenue, with a deficit of $3.5 million in 2024.

“The other side is the expense side and we’re starting to control that a lot more in building some efficiencies,” Gallucci said.

“With a new building, you always have to figure out what works best and how you can flow things in and out better.”

With admission returning, the LDE wants to keep the event as family-friendly as possible. With the support of Gas King, Whoop-Up Days will be free to attend from open to 3 p.m. on August 20-22.

“If we’re going to re-introduce admission, we need to provide value and make sure that what they're getting and the experience they're getting is worth it,” Kingsmith said.

Admission will be $10 in advance or $15 at the gate. Children 12 and under get in free. Top Stories

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