The show must go on at the Cowichan Exhibition this year, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, it could look more like the fall fairs of 150 years ago, organizers say. (Citizen file)

Cowichan Exhibition organizers have to be flexible with 2020 plans

Event will take place this year, but it might look different

With three months to go, a lot could change before the 152nd Cowichan Exhibition takes place in September, and organizers know they need to be flexible as they make plans.

“We are doing our darnedest to do something for the community that they can get out and enjoy,” executive director Shari Paterson said.

The fair will definitely take place, Paterson confirmed, but what it looks like will depend on how the COVID-19 pandemic plays out between now and then.

RELATED: COVID-19 scales back — not cancels — Saanich Fair

“It’s very complicated,” she acknowledged. “Something we plan today can change tomorrow. As we get closer to July, we’ll have a better idea again.”

Organizers are hoping to proceed as close as possible to the usual, but they know it won’t be the event most fairgoers are accustomed to. Their goal now is to bring families together in a safe environment that conforms to whatever the public health guidelines are. They are planning around restrictions as they are today, but know they can always add more.

“We will plan around what the current guidelines are,” Paterson said. “But if things open up, all the better.”

In a message posted to the Exhibition website, president Tony Irwin suggested that the fair will be returning to its roots.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our fair will likely be more reminiscent of the fall fairs of 150 years ago,” he said. “However, we promise to keep you updated with information on this year’s fair plans as well as other events being held at Exhibition Park. The Cowichan Exhibition has been ingrained in the community for 152 years. As everyone is doing these days, we are trying to find ways to stay sustainable and to offer our community a place to get together while safely staying apart.”

There will definitely not be a midway this year, and organizers don’t plan to accommodate 18,000 people over a three-day span, as they usually would. The fair is scheduled for Sept. 11-13, but fortunately, it doesn’t have to be restricted to three days.

“We can do this over a number of weeks or days,” Paterson noted. “It doesn’t have to be all on the second weekend of September.”

RELATED: COVID-19 hasn’t yet caused cancellation of Nanaimo’s Bathtub race or VIEX

That doesn’t mean those days won’t be exciting on their own.

“We do have plans for those days, something really exciting to offer,” Paterson hinted, refusing to share any more details.

Regardless of what happens this year, because of all the planning they’ve been doing for 2020, the Ex could be really ahead of the curve for 2021, Paterson added.

“We’ve turned our attention toward what we can do and get creative,” she said. “We are open to suggestions.”

For more news from the Island and beyond delivered directly to your email inbox, click here.

CoronavirusFall fair

Just Posted

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Pedestrian dies in motor vehicle incident along the highway near Nanaimo Airport

Police investigating scene where 37-year-old woman from Nanaimo died

Victoria police make arrest in Centennial Square stabbing

One man was left with non-life-threatening injuries Saturday morning

Visitors and bylaw officers targetted by vandals on Vancouver Island’s West Coast

Tofino mayor condemns vandalism against tourists, says bylaw staff also being targeted

Lamborghini driver slapped with nearly $1,000 in fines while speeding in Central Saanich

Vehicle impounded by Central Saanich police, 11 points issued

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Thief steals ice cream bars from Oak Bay Dairy Queen

Oak Bay resident out nearly $10,000 as CRA scam strikes again

Most Read