2021 Whoop-Up Days breaks records and jumps through hoops as it comes back to Lethbridge

LETHBRIDGE — Saturday marks the final day for Lethbridge’s Whoop-Up Days midway.

The century-old event was pushed back due to scheduling and restrictions, but Exhibition Parks CEO Mike Warkentin, says it’s still been one for the record books.

“I’m personally overwhelmed with the response for the community,” Warkentin said.

“Yesterday shattered a single-day attendance record here at Whoop-Up Days and so we’re thrilled with that.”

Warkentin went on to say that he wouldn’t be surprised to surpass that once again on Saturday.

It’s not just that’s excited to be up running, so are the vendors.

“I’m super excited to be here and I’m super excited that Lethbridge has allowed this,” said Anna Shultz, owner of The Frozen Yogurt Spot food truck.

“I think it’s great, especially since Whoop-up Days is not charging for entrance or parking, there’s been a lot of people.”

“I think this year is good because people still miss all the midway and the food trucks, you know,” said Ying Yan Situ, operator of The Happy Fish Catering.

However, Ex Park and the festival have had to pivot following Friday’s provincial announcement, which brought back an indoor mask mandate in Alberta.

Fortunately, since it is an outdoor event, only a couple of features have had to change to stick with the new restrictions.

“The marketplace at Whoop-up Days, as well as the heritage hall entertainment, will be required to wear masks while you’re indoors,” Warkentin told CTV News.

“Out here in the midway, still not, but we are heavily encouraging it as guests come into the park.”

In addition to indoor masking, liquor sales across the park are now being closed down at 10 p.m. as opposed to midnight to stay line with restrictions.

Despite the hiccup in plans, however, southern Albertans still made their way down to enjoy the festivities with friends and family.

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“It’s been really good,” said David Koethler, an event-goer. “It’s good that we got nice weather out and it’s nice that we don’t have to wear masks outside.”

“It’s good to see everybody out and about and having a good time and having fun,” said Danica Overton, who attends the event every year and is glad to be back.

“It’s really fun and I’ve missed this,” said 11-year-old Adam Stafford-Mayer. “Because of COVID, we haven’t been able to be here but it’s really fun getting back, going on the rides and throwing up.”

The Whoop-Up Days midway wraps up at midnight.

Events are still continuing Sunday with the first day of the Rocky Mountain Turf Clubs’ fall horse races.

For more information on the races which are free to attend, you can visit the turf club’s website.

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