Sask. festivals gear up for more active summer

With COVID-19 restrictions likely to loosen in Saskatchewan through June and July, organizers of events, festivals and tourist attractions are rethinking their summer plans.

Jonathan Potts with Tourism Saskatchewan says that after a year of adversity, many event planners are stepping up to the challenge while other volunteer organizers are choosing to hold off.

“Because things are changing quite rapidly it’s quite tricky for some to prepare depending on lead time they need, but we do have a very entrepreneurial industry, and a very adaptable industry,” Potts says.

Andriy Bondar chairs the Ukrainian Day in the Park committee. One of the main reasons he wanted to get involved is for his daughter, four-year-old Veronica.

He’s been living in Canada for five years and wanted to be involved in the festival that celebrates and showcases Ukrainian culture.

Last year their August event had to be cancelled and this year the board has a plan, but it is still being finalized.

“We don’t know if we’ll have a live broadcast from a location or if it will be 100 per cent pre-recorded and just played on the day of the event,” Bondar said.

August 28 is the date they will be sharing culture with performances, food vendor promotions and a few surprises, Bodnar says.

He says it was challenging for the volunteer board to come to a decision about hosting the event – but they didn’t want to hold off for another year.

The Ness Creek Music Festival originally cancelled their regular event but is adapting and having smaller venues to accommodate restrictions.

Organizers at Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival have one play planned, Macbeth, starting in July but audience capacity limits could change to allow more people into the theatre.

The Fringe is also planning a hybrid event with some virtual and in-person shows while Taste of Saskatchewan is moving to August instead of July.

The Prairie Lily riverboat in Saskatoon is going to set sail starting June 24, with 30 per cent capacity.

The Saskatoon Ex and the Regina Exhibition are going ahead in August with a schedule that allows for cleaning days. The Prince Albert Exhibition website says it is cancelled for 2021.

The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival is announcing its plans on Thursday while the Country Thunder music festival in Craven has been cancelled.

Folkfest in Saskatoon is holding a three day festival in late August which will be mainly virtual. There are some interactive elements in the works with some pavilion food sale days in July and Aug leading up to the virtual event.