The Lindsay Exhibition (LEX) is not being cancelled but rather re-imagined for 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic — but the Advocate has learned there will be no midway or grandstand shows.
In a short letter to exhibitors, Harry Stoddart, Lindsay Agricultural Society (LAS) president, says certain aspects of the LEX “present insurmountable challenges and will be postponed to 2021.”
“We have some new ideas for bringing ‘fair food’ to Lindsay and a community celebration event that we will only proceed with if conditions at the end of the summer indicate we can do them with low risk,” states the letter from Stoddart.
Stoddart tells exhibitors that many aspects of the LEX “can be reshaped into online or virtual events that limit the potential for the spread of COVID-19 while preserving the essence of that part of the LEX, including livestock competitions, homecraft competitions, some entertainment, and the agricultural education displays.”
He points out there are many examples of successful virtual livestock competitions in the U.S. and Australia already.
“Look for revised prize books to be released on our website in late June or early July. We will not be publishing physical books this year to contain costs,” he says.
The fair will be transformed to respect the rules necessary to combat transmission of the virus.
One of the pre-eminent concerns was the health and safety of guests, volunteers, exhibitors, and others involved with the LEX.
“We’re working to bring as many aspects of the LEX to life as we can safely in this pandemic world,” says Len Dawson, president of the board of directors, in a press release.
“We are planning for online or virtual livestock competitions, home craft competitions, some entertainment, and the agricultural education displays,” he says.
“We also have some ideas on hybrid competitions where physical items are judged. Whether they go ahead will depend on the rules in place once we get to September.
Lindsay Agricultural Society (LAS) president Harry Stoddart says, “Our challenge is to create new experiences while preserving the traditions of the LEX.
Online is one way to present things in a socially distanced manner. We are also working on bringing some of the tastes and sounds of a classic fall fair to Lindsay in new ways.”
This is just a different challenge for the LAS to weather among the many in its 166-year history, according to the press release, noting the Lindsay Central Exhibition before it stayed strong and relevant by adapting over time.
Stay tuned over the summer for additional announcements as the details of specific aspects of the 2020 LEX are worked out.