BARRHEAD-Blue Heron Fair Days were an unqualified success.
That is what Barrhead Agricultural Society's president Jackie Miller and treasurer Brenda Visser told the Leader.
"We are happy with how things went and the turnout. We saw a lot of families and children ... and that is what we were aiming for," Miller said. "What we wanted to do was give people, especially families, an event, something to look forward to and enjoy. I believe we accomplished that."
Visser estimated that a little over 2,000 people attended the two-day event on Aug. 14 and 15. On Saturday, the society sold about 1,100 wristbands, while on Sunday, the number dropped slightly to 900.
"That is actually up a little from what we normally see," she said. "Going into the weekend, we were not sure what to expect. Would people be nervous and decide to stay at home? We just did not know. We are just so happy with the support we received."
Unfortunately, although they saw an increase in attendance over a normal year, they did not make a profit.
"But going into it, we knew we were going to lose money. Making a profit was never the point. Our goal was always to put on something for people to enjoy," Visser said.
However, she noted that they fared better than they expected.
"The gate receipts, like our attendance, were up slightly over the two days from an average year," Visser said, adding which is a bit surprising because the ag society, to give residents a break, decided to lower the entrance fee.
She added that if ag society had raised entry fees and had a little more time to organize the event, they would likely been in the black.
One of the casualties of the shortened planning period was Friday's demolition derby, which historically is one of the fair's most popular and profitable features. The other notable fair day loss was the Saturday morning parade.
Miller and Visser both said that given the accelerated time frame, what the society was able to organize was just short of amazing.
On June 18, Premier Jason Kenney announced the province had met its 70 per cent first dose vaccination target. As a result, starting July 1, the province would move into Stage 3 of its COVID-19 re-opening plan, allowing large events to take place. Two weeks later, the ag society decided they would proceed with a scaled-down fair giving them seven weeks to organize and stage the event.
Miller noted for the most part, except for the previously mentioned demolition derby and parade, fairgoers had the same variety of activities to partake in as in a non-COVID year.
"We were just so happy to be able to put something on for the community and we look forward to being able to organize the next fair days," she said.
Barry Kerton, TownandCountryToday.com