By Jenn Watt
Organizers of the Haliburton Home and Cottage Show investigated other venues and dates for 2020 before deciding that the show would not happen this year.
They looked at other dates at the arena or Head Lake Park but uncertainty about when public facilities would be available again and when physical distancing restrictions would be lifted cemented their decision.
“What it came right down to is having reviewed all of the logistical issues we still couldn’t get around one fundamental problem and that is given the social distancing of the pandemic who really knows what we’re going to be facing late summer?” said Kent Milford president of the Haliburton Curling Club which organizes the show. “We just couldn’t guarantee the safety of all of the attendees and the exhibitors and the volunteers and you just couldn’t put anybody’s safety and health at risk and we weren’t prepared to do that.”
Much work had already gone into planning this year’s show which was to have taken place on May 29 to 31 in Haliburton. Milford guessed that hundreds of hours of work had already been done by show managers Glenn Scott and Dave Taylor. Spots for vendors were already sold out with a waiting list which is not unheard of but rare for the 43-year-old event.
“Oftentimes by the time we get to the end of April beginning of May we’re getting close to being sold out but we were sold out with a waiting list four weeks ago. We were way ahead of the game” he said.
The show typically attracts about 2500 attendees to visit 130 vendors and involves the assistance of 150 volunteers. It’s also an economic driver for the community and a beloved annual event for full- and part-time residents.
Because it is such an important community event Milford said it was especially difficult to concede that the 2020 show would not happen.
“We feel badly in terms of our role in the community. We viewed this show as very important in the community. It’s not about making money for the curling club it’s about making sure we do our bit in helping everybody in Haliburton who’s helped us in so many ways over the years” he said.
Milford didn’t give a specific figure for how much money the show typically raises for the curling club but said members are usually told that without the revenue generated “dues would probably be $100 to $125 higher to curl.”
The curling club board hasn’t met yet to discuss the effect of cancelling the show this year but Milford said they are in a good financial position and anticipates there will be minimal impact on members.
As with organizations across the county province and country the Haliburton Curling Club leadership doesn’t know what the next months will hold. Milford said if physical distancing recommendations are still in place this fall there may be no curling at all.
“If it’s not safe to have 75 or 80 people in a building or even more than 100 then obviously we’re going to have to change things around. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility to say there’d be no curling next year.”
As for the Home and Cottage Show organizers are promising to “be back next year better than ever.”
Go to haliburtonhomeandcottageshow.com to find information about the vendors of the show and their contact information.