As questions surround what the Calgary Stampede may look like this year, preparations for the event’s midway are underway.
North American Midway Entertainment (NAME) is the company that brings rides, games, and food vendors to the infamous Cowtown rodeo, and they’re working closely with the Calgary Stampede and Alberta Health Services to provide the experiences we all know and love to the 2021 event.
Scooter Korek, vice president of Client Relations at NAME, told Daily Hive that it’s all up to Alberta Health Services (AHS).
“We’re planning on maybe 15% less of our presentation than what we’ve had in past years,” Korek said. “It’s not as though we’re not going to bring [the attractions]. We’re just going to leave behind what may be some of our less attractive attractions.”
Korek added that once NAME is able to set terms with the Calgary Stampede and AHS for what the midway will look like this year, the company might end up leaving behind more than 15% of their midway attractions, or they could be leaving behind less.
“All of our spectaculars and all of our really popular rides, we’re going to bring them with us,” said Korek.
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Earlier in May, the Calgary Stampede said that they would be going ahead with the 10-day event, although it will look different from what we’re used to.
“We are confident that the actions our community is taking now will allow for safe Stampede experiences in July,” Kristina Barnes, Communications Manager, Western Events & Agriculture at the Calgary Stampede, told Daily Hive.
“The safety of our community comes first,” said Barnes. “This will not be your typical Stampede. Our promise is to follow the guidelines and to create the safest and best possible experience for our community.”
This spring, NAME has done over 30 events, and they’ve been able to refine their “pandemic program” and get really good at it.
Changes you may see throughout the midway at the 2021 Calgary Stampede include increased social distancing space, constant sanitizing of all touch points on rides, games, and food, all staff wearing masks, and hand sanitizing stations throughout the midway and at every ride.
Korek says that NAME also completes temperature checks and COVID-19 symptom questionnaires with staff before they begin work.
The show usually travels with 400 to 450 people (about one-third of whom are Canadian), and they hire typically 600 additional staff at the Calgary Stampede to help with non-safety-sensitive operations.
NAME plans to cross the border into Canada in the middle of June, and then head to a fairground for their 14-day quarantine. The company is considering quarantining in Strathmore, but nothing has been confirmed at this time.
After completing quarantine, the company would be able to move to the Stampede grounds to begin setting up on June 29 or 30, giving them “plenty of time to get ready,” said Korek.
Because they’re in the “rides business,” NAME’s number one priority has always been customer and employee safety. “This is no different,” says Korek. “We’re just treating this as another safety facet of our business.”
“And we’re going to do an outstanding job of it, no matter what we have to do.”