The organizers of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair have announced the annual signature event will once again be held virtually, citing the unpredictability of COVID-19 based on “considerable research and consultation.”
The iconic annual event, which is typically held at the Exhibition Place grounds in November, will be marking 99 years of operation in 2021 and this is the second year in a row in-person events will be cancelled due to the pandemic.
“Initially, we were optimistic that we would be able to gather at Exhibition Place this year to celebrate Canadian excellence in food, agriculture and equestrian sport,” Charlie Johnstone, the CEO of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
98th Royal Agriculture Winter Fair goes virtual for 2020
“But as the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 continues to create havoc around the world, it became clear that we weren’t going to be able to host The Royal in a traditional way.
“We’re simply not in a place to guarantee the stability and assurances necessary to plan [exhibitors and competitors’] paths forward to compete at an elite level.”
Wednesday’s announcement marks a change from an announcement made in February when the fair’s board voted to proceed with organizing an in-person fair in 2021.
However, a statement at the time cautioned the decision wasn’t a final one.
Billed as the world’s largest indoor agricultural fair and equestrian competition, organizers said the fair typically sees around 300,000 guests over its multi-day run and hosts thousands of exhibitors, vendors, competitors and animals.
For its 100th anniversary in November 2022, fair organizers said they’re looking to make it “bigger and stronger than ever” but specific plans weren’t shared on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, online event details for the 2021 event will be shared on the fair’s website.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.