Source: The Mane Event

April 24, 2020 marked the day the doors at Westerner Park, in Red Deer, AB, were scheduled to open for the 14th Annual Mane Event. Instead, the current COVID-19 situation has forced the horse expo to open “virtually.” A Mane Event Facebook Group has been created exclusively for exhibitors who planned to be in Red Deer. They will be able to post their products and services online, and The Mane Event will publicize the “virtual” event through social media and its email mailing list, asking visitors to support them.  

“We were devastated when we realized that we would be unable to open the doors at the Westerner to the thousands of equine enthusiasts that have been coming there for the past 14 years,” says Mane Event President Gail Barker. “We feel obligated to our exhibitors, sponsors, clinicians and ticket holders. But we also have an obligation to make wise business decisions to ensure a viable future for The Mane Event which has become so important to the equine community.” 

When the City of Red Deer declared a State of Emergency in March, exhibitors and vendors were advised that the event was cancelled. They were offered the choice of having the funds they paid applied to a booth space at The Mane Event in Chilliwack, BC, scheduled for October 23-25, 2020, or to the 2021 Mane Event scheduled for Red Deer April 23-25, 2021. Advance ticket purchasers were given the option of a full refund, an equivalent ticket towards attendance at the Chilliwack event in October, or to next year’s event in Red Deer. 

“We sincerely wish that The Mane Event was in a financial position to be able to refund 100 per cent of payments made by exhibitors, but we simply aren’t,” says Barker. “We are a small enterprise, with a small year-round staff, that has taken a catastrophic hit to its revenues after having already paid for event production and related expenses, much of which we won’t be able to recoup.” 

“We have attempted to answer every inquiry made to us by individuals and/or companies. We do understand that some of those who have contacted us did not get the answers they wanted to hear, but those answers are a reflection of our current reality.” 

Credit options have been issued to all exhibitors directly via email. If anyone has not received a response from an inquiry, they should contact the organizers at Exhibitors should visit the Mane Event Facebook Group created for them. 

Many of the specific events and plans in place for the weekend’s event will be rolled over into the 2021 Red Deer event, scheduled for April 23-25, 2021. 

Barker noted that The Mane Event is just one of many event cancellations that have had a devastating effect on industries around the world. “But that is cold comfort when we and our staff have to make hard decisions to ensure that our company survives.”

Photo: Shutterstock/Zhukova Valentyna

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