The Saskatoon Ex had a record-breaking year this year, during the return of several much-anticipated summer events.
Over the course of eight days, more than 230,000 people attended the event — breaking a record set in 2012.
“Expectations were not high. We just really didn’t know coming out of the pandemic what our attendance would be but in the end it was absolutely fantastic,” special events manager Susan Kuzma said.
Saskatoon Exhibition sees over 20,000 people on opening day
Kuzma added it was clear that people were ready to get out and celebrate again outside.
The Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival didn’t break any records this year. It was pared down to accommodate any potential event restrictions.
“Usually we’re running 125 to 150 shows over 10 days in 23 venues,” artistic director Kevin Tobin said. “[This year] we ran 50 shows in six venues, so our numbers we already knew were going to be smaller.”
‘Nothing beats live music’: Jazz festival returns to Saskatoon
Tobin said the extra space between guests made the event feel more relaxed and enjoyable.
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University of Saskatchewan Epidemiologist Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine said he has reservations about the scale of summer events given the rise in variants and the plateau in vaccination rates. He added this is a good time for large scale events to require proof of vaccination.
“We are still in danger. We are still not out of the woods,”he said Monday. “By asking for this documentation, we are very deliberately, very consciously, trying to keep the unvaccinated safe from getting the virus and spreading it onwards to other unvaccinated people including children.”
Saskatoon summer festivals moving online, delaying, or waiting to see what happens
As of Monday evening, no exposures had been reported at any of the events. Muhajarine said some could still emerge in the coming days.
Event organizers say they are proud of the precautions taken and the success of bringing the community together again.
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