Kyle Johnston, Red Deer and District Labour Council president says given the uncertainty around holding events and mass gatherings, the council has decided to cancel this year’s barbecue, which usually takes place in downtown Red Deer. File photo

Annual Labour Day barbecue in Red Deer cancelled due to COVID-19

Last year’s event fed more than 500 people

The Red Deer & District Labour Council has cancelled its annual Labour Day barbecue this year.

“We are disappointed, but given the uncertainty around holding events and mass gatherings, we believe it’s the right thing to do,” said labour council president Kyle Johnston.

“We normally start planning in January for September, but we were a bit behind this year. We had our first meeting on March 3, and within a week, everything changed.

“Fortunately, we weren’t too far into planning, so it was easy for us to pause and decide on next steps,” said Johnston.

What began in 2015 as a way to reach out and provide a free meal to those less fortunate has gradually evolved into an annual community celebration with local musicians, face painters and entertainers, said Johnston.

Last year, the barbecue fed more than 500 people.

“Labour councils have always been active in their communities, giving back throughout the year. The Labour Day BBQ is one more way we contribute,” said Karen Reay, the union’s long-time secretary-treasurer. “

This year, in lieu of providing a free meal, we will be making donations to the organizations we’ve partnered with for past barbecues. We recognize the need is greater this year than at any other time.”



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