Whoop-Up Days plans announced: No parade, fair moved to September
The sights, sounds, tastes and smells of Whoop-Up Days will be returning to Lethbridge this year although the fair will be held about 10 days later, and will be a bit smaller than usual.
Exhibition Park announced the fair will be held from Sept. 2-5. It will include Wild Rose Shows midway, music, beer gardens, food vendors, marketplace and horse racing.
It will also include free admission and free parking, although that will substantially reduced due to on-going construction of the new Agri-food Hub and Trade Centre.
“This event as a community celebration has never been more important,” said Mike Warkentin, Lethbridge & District Exhibition CEO. “The history of this event is as old as this community.
“Although it may not look the same as it has in recent years, we can’t wait to welcome people back.”
With different COVID restriction levels between Alberta and B.C. West Coast Amusements, the usual midway operators, will be remain in the lower B.C. mainland this year. The dates for the Lethbridge fair were adjusted in order to accommodate the schedule of Wild Rose Shows, which will supply the rides this summer.
However, the Whoop-Up Days parade has been postponed until next year, when it can hopefully return in its full glory.
“The parade is one of the truly unique times when this community comes together in droves,” said Warkentin.
Given the short timeline, as well as the logistics and resources involved with organizing the parade, organizers felt by waiting until 2022, they could make sure people get a full parade experience.
The western rodeo events have also been postponed until 2022, although Sept. 5 will mark the start of the Rocky Mountain Turf Club’s fall face meet.
Warkentin said Whoop-Up Days is all about community celebration and organizers wanted to provide a good experience for people coming out of the pandemic. That was one of the reasons it was decided not to charge admission this year.
“Everyone’s had a tough couple of years and we knew the event was going to be smaller than it has been in the past,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we were still giving people value for the entertainment provided.”
The festival will include live music in the Heritage Hall beer gardens, food trucks and the Whoop-Up Days marketplace.
Many of the details are still being worked out. Organizers said the midway will be spaced out, but they are still in discussions over possible attendance levels or other COVID restrictions.
Event hours have been adjusted to avoid any conflict with school hours and the COVID-19 vaccine clinic on-site at Exhibition Park.
On Sept. 2, the grounds will operate from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
On Sept. 3 and 4 the fair will run from noon to midnight.
Sunday is set aside for the kick-off of the fall race meet.
Warkentin said although Whoop-Up Days may not look the same as years past, organizers are very excited to welcome residents and guests in Lethbridge to the festival. He added there has been a lot of community interest in having the celebration go ahead.
“There are a lot of local small businesses that participate in events like this and the response we've had to date has been overwhelming for us to do Whoop-Up days.”
You can get more information online.