‘We might not survive’: Renfrew among communities affected by fair season losses

Excerpt from Renfrew Mercury – Jonathan Mulvihill

Midway providers may close if lockdown persists into 2021

What will fair season look like in 2021?

If the lockdown continues, it could cripple the entire industry.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and most, if not all, outdoor events being cancelled, many of the province’s fair and carnival operators completely lost their 2020 operating season.

In Renfrew, this year’s fair was cancelled back in April due to the rapidly changing threat of COVID-19. The Renfrew Agricultural Society, in charge of organizing the annual event, would also need to plan several months in advance the various vendors that would occupy the fairgrounds.

Renfrew fair general manager Judy Dobec previously said the cancellation meant a financial hit not only to the agricultural society, but also to the town, with restaurants, hotels and retail outlets missing out on additional revenue the fair brings in.

The Canadian Association of Amusement Operators (CAAO), which represents the carnival business that provides rides, games and carnival foods to fairs, festivals and special events from coast to coast, is calling on the government to preserve the cultural, heritage and economic contributions of these events.

CAAO director Andrew Gidaro says although fair season is only a few months out of the year, providers use the downtime for equipment maintenance and storage, among other things.

“Lots of money goes into the rides alone,” he said. “The lockdown that began back in March couldn’t have happened at a worse time for this industry. Now, with the onset of the second wave, we are looking at around 18 months with zero revenue before this is over.” Read More…