The Calgary Stampede is set to close the gates on the final day of the pandemic-era edition


It was a Calgary getaway like no other, one organizers certainly don’t expect to repeat again – complete with concession booths, fireworks and rodeos, but sanitized stations, enhanced cleanliness and COVID-19 rapid tests.

After 10 days, the COVID-19 edition of the self-styled Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth concluded on Sunday night. A worldwide pandemic led to the cancellation of the world-famous outdoor festival last year for the first time in a century.

That cancellation saw the festival lose an unprecedented $26.5 million in 2020 – a far cry from the roughly $150 million in annual revenue typically pulled by the event.

Organizers said they are confident that the new safety measures adopted by the festival – such as halving daily attendance, implementing increased cleanliness and introducing public sanitation stations – will inevitably follow other mass events scheduled this year across Canada. Will see the stampede ceremony like a blueprint for.

Such an event, coupled with the province lifting nearly all of its public health restrictions a little more than two weeks ago, has caused consternation among some infectious disease experts, driven by a spurt in COVID-19 cases. Worry about the possibility. Infectious delta var.

Organizers highlighted the initial numbers pulling out of the event during a press conference held on Sunday – attendance was about half that of a typical Calgary getaway, organizers reported, with around 50,000 attendees a day, most of whom were from Calgary.

In contrast, the most recent regular editions of the festival brought in 1,275,465 visitors in 2019 and 1,271,241 in 2018. The 2019 edition was the second largest year to attend the Calgary Stampede after 2012, the year the Stampede celebrated its 100th year.

Nashville North — the popular 18-plus, live country music venue — saw 60,000 visitors enter the tent, 73 percent of whom showed vaccination proof.

Under the revised rules, patrons had to show proof of a COVID-19 shot at least two weeks before, or agree to a negative rapid test result at the entrance to the arena or the door of the tent.

Organizers said fewer than 18 COVID-19 cases were caught at the door.

Stampede president Steve McDonough said the 2021 edition of the festival was a “wild ride” – arguing that the festival represents a safe return to live events that should serve as a model for Calgary and Canada.

“Success is also giving local businesses a much-needed boost, and our economy is a kickstart,” McDonough said.

“No matter how you measure it, Stampede 2021 is a success.”

Wildfire smoke affects the last day

The festival opened its doors free of charge to all Calgarians for its final day, with the gates opening at 10 a.m. on Sundays and running until midnight.

But the proposal coincided with heavy, dense smoke emanating from British Columbia – the smoke that caused Environment Canada to issue a special air quality statement Sunday morning. The Air Quality Health Index was at 10+ or ​​very high risk as of 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

That risk meant that people with lung diseases such as asthma and COPD typically experienced more severe health effects at lower levels of pollution, as it could exacerbate their illnesses.

According to the weather agency, this could lead to increased drug use, doctor and emergency room visits and hospital visits.

Calgary Stampede said its rodeo would go ahead on Sunday, writing in a statement that veterinarians at its site were monitoring the animals for signs of increased respiratory effort.

The World Professional Chuckwagon Association and Century Downs Racetrack in Calgary both said they had canceled their scheduled horse racing event on Sunday, citing concerns about the safety of animals and humans.

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