Exhibition Association made it through tough year

The Estevan Exhibition Association discussed the outcomes of 2020 during their annual general meeting on Feb. 10.

Re-elected president Tamera Huber said that they now have a full roster of eight board members. Graham Collie was elected as the first vice-president and Al Biette will be the second vice-president. Crystal Ross was elected as the financial chair.

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During the meeting, the board also discussed some ways of development for the exhibition grounds.

"We had a couple of members present some fabulous ideas to bring to our grounds," Huber said.

Real Life XL Skills Inc. suggested bringing in a program, allowing youth and their families to work with horses even if they don't own one. Another person suggested bringing in some classes onto the exhibition grounds for a fundraiser.

Due to the pandemic, the association wasn't able to host their annual fair and rodeo, which were supposed to happen on the same weekend for the first time in more than 20 years in 2020. And so far, they are not sure what's going to happen to their 2021 summer season. So, while still hoping for the best, the board started looking into other opportunities.

"Some of the ideas for fundraisers this year were perhaps bringing in an outdoor movie on our grounds. Or a food truck alley on our grounds. Those are some of the ideas that are being tossed around. And I think we are going to implement these this year in some way," Huber said.

Huber has been in contact with West Coast Amusements, which traditionally brings in the fair to Estevan in early summer. However, no updates were available yet.

"All we have right now is hope that we can proceed with the 2021 (program)," Huber said.

She added that one way or the other, they are going to bring in some joy to the city.

"We miss all of the smiles. That's the biggest thing that we get out of that is the joy that we bring to other people's lives through the fair and the rodeo. That's what we want to do, just bring some happiness to people."

Once any decisions are made, they will be shared with the public through the media.

"We are going to be planning," Huber said.

"Plan A is proceeding with the Energy City Ex and the rodeo, midway and with everything else. But with the current government regulations, we plan to have plans B, C and D if we need to in case that can't happen. And what that picture looks like we don't know.

"We'll work on it and we'll see where we can get. I think every agricultural exhibition society within our province and within our country is in the same boat."

It was a rough year for the Estevan Exhibition Association. They are a non-for-profit organization, and while they lost most of their income in 2020 due to the pandemic, they hope they'll be able to find a way to keep going in 2021.

"Just like any other business, we are hurting from it," Huber said.

She also noted that their hall is currently being booked for different events for this spring and summer, but unless the government eases off the restrictions they won't be able to proceed with any activities.

During the meeting, the board also took time to celebrate Laura Mantei for 35 years of her dedication to the Estevan Exhibition Association. She was the rodeo committee chairperson for a number of years and was involved in other aspects.

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