The Agri-Trade Equipment Expo will go ahead in November after there was some fear of a cancellation due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Red Deer Advocate file photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Agri-Trade will go ahead in November

The equipment expo typically generates nearly $50 million in tourism dollars

Central Alberta’s largest agricultural exhibition has the green light for 2020.

After some uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Agri-Trade Equipment Expo, which takes place at Westerner Park and generates nearly $50 million in tourism spending, is a go from Nov. 11 to 13.

The organizers made the announcement Wednesday, citing a number of new safety guidelines that will be put in place to ensure the event runs smoothly.

“It’s been a year of disappointments for the agricultural community with trade shows throughout North America having to be cancelled,” said general manager David Fiddler.

“We have to move forward and Agri-Trade is really proud to be able to be one of the first shows that will be able to go forward and prove to the industry that we can do it well and do it safe.”

Westerner Park CEO Mike Olesen, who was optimistic earlier this summer that they would be able to hold the event, said they were thrilled to have the event go ahead.

“We are looking forward to leading the industry in how exhibitions may be operated in a safe manner while also ensuring the experience of the attendees and exhibitors,” he said.

“Its truly been a team effort to plan the event in these unprecedented times. But they have only made us better as we have worked hard to identify innovative ways to ensure the show is accessible, however you choose to attend.”

They are encouraging people to pre-purchase tickets to avoid lineups and will have three entrances, with one-way traffic throughout the exhibition.

The aisles have been expanded and exhibits have been spread out. They will also have a number of interactive displays, where patrons can talk with an exhibitor digitally.

Fiddler cited work with the advisory committee, several levels of government, as well as Westerner Park to make sure the event could go ahead.

He added that with an event that generates nearly $250 million worth of agriculture equipment sales each year, the exhibition is vitally important to farmers across the country.

“When we think of agriculture, we should be thinking of food,” Fiddler said.

“Canadian producers produce a safe, quality product, and when they come to Agri-Trade, they are adding to their arsenal to produce that safe, quality food in abundance.”

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