Taber Cornfest returns amid surge in COVID-19 cases
It’s been a long two-year wait for the residents of Taber.
After being cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cornfest makes it’s long awaited return this weekend.
This will be the 36th time the largest free outdoor festival in southern Alberta will be held.
Co-chair of Cornfest Rick Popydnetz is just one of the many people excited for the festival’s return.
"The town's buzzing with excitement. We've got the parade happening today, we've got stage entertainment, we've got the car show on Saturday. We've even got Pure Power Wrestling showing up Saturday night. We’ve got some really great events happening around Taber.”
Cornfest features everything from a midway, live music, bull riding and of course there will be plenty of Taber corn.
While the event promises excitement for a town that’s seen few live events over the last year and a half, the threat of COVID-19 still looms large.
Alberta has seen active case numbers rise steadily for the last few weeks.
Just yesterday the province saw more than 1,000 new infections added – that’s the most since May.
Right now, Taber doesn’t have very many active COVID cases, only having recorded 33 by the end of day Aug. 25.
But recent events like the Calgary Stampede and the Medicine Hat Stampede saw a number of new infections on their grounds.
Popydnetz knows that some are concerned, but believes he and his team are taking the necessary measures.
"Every day we have an emergency operations meeting, so every morning at 8:30 we have a meeting with Alberta Health Services and our team so we're rarin' to go, so we've got all the restrictions figured out and we're going to move forward and have a great successful event."
While there may be worries the event promises to be a boost to local vendors.
One group in particular that stands to benefit the most from Cornfest will be local musicians.
"There's lots of bands that we use that are strictly from Calgary-South. We don't go any further than Lethbridge and Taber basically. So most all of the bands play here locally and we like it that way," said Mark Garner, the Cornfest stage entertainment manager.
The waiting game is over now as Sneak-a-peek Midway night begins this evening before the festival gets started for real tomorrow.
For more information on the 2021 Cornfest and its events you can visit the Taber Chamber of Commerce website.
(With files from Sean Marks)
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