The shadow of COVID continues to hang over the Indoor Provincial Expo, but that won’t stop the popular event from returning.
IPE has been canceled for the past two years due to COVID concerns, but is back for 2022.
President Heather King said all of the fan favorites are back, including downtown, the food court and everything people have come to expect from the Armstrong Fair.
And the novelty this year will be bull riding.
The Canadian Professional Bull Riding (CPBR) event will take place on the evening of September 4 and will feature the best bull riders in the world against the baddest bulls in the industry.
One area that will be a little different this year is the exhibitor section.
King said many exhibitors have been hit by a broken supply chain, but they are thinking outside the box to get there.
“There are a few unknowns. COVID was tough on people,” she said. “Some of our suppliers are unable to come back because they are not in business or do not have the resources. So we encountered a few bumps. All businesses are coming out of COVID and trying to figure things out.
King said some companies just don’t have any products to display.
For example, there’s usually a plethora of farm equipment on display, but vendors tell King they have very little on display this year.
“They say, ‘We have nothing to contribute. As soon as they bring it to us, it’s gone. So we have to be creative,” King said.
Although the exhibitor area will be different this year, it will not impact the rest of the fair which draws tens of thousands of people to the area.
King said they were looking for people to be part of the IPE by entering their own articles.
People can fill out an online entry form to post their photographs, vegetables – the giant pumpkin contest is back – handmade items, baked goods and more.
People can enter over 19 divisions and participants will receive a five-day pass.
Organizers are also looking for people to participate in the two-day craft market, which is a new event this year.
The fair will take place from August 31 to September 4 and tickets are on sale now.
For more information, visit the IPE website.