Previous vendors at the Ridge Meadows Home Show. (The News files)

Previous vendors at the Ridge Meadows Home Show. (The News files)

Ridge Meadows Home Show a no-go this year

Executive director Cass Winder disappointed, but hopeful for next year

Their website may be welcoming visitors to the Ridge Meadows Home Show this year, but in all likelihood the show will not be going on due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking into account current directives from the Provincial Health Officer and the timing of the vaccine roll-out, Cass Winder, executive director of the popular home improvement fair, said it does not appear there will be a show.

The Ridge Meadows Home Show has been held in Maple Ridge for the past 47 years, and is considered one of the largest home shows in Western Canada.

Planning for the event usually starts in October. Every year there are about 400 different exhibitors featuring everything from home renovations, outdoor landscaping, home decor, beauty and wellness. There is usually a cooking section, a marketplace with household gadgets and unique household products, and the latest fitness equipment. There is a Psychic Fair and a Food Truck Festival. Stages outside feature the top children’s entertainers from across the country, a petting zoo, carnival and midway.

More than 20,000 people attend the event annually.

This year the show was supposed to take place over three days from April 30-May 2.

READ MORE: Ridge Meadows Home Show returns in 2021

“If anyone were to be able to create a large event that was safe in terms of supervised, distancing, one-direction travel and things like that, I would have complete and utter faith in our staff, because we’ve always had a mandate for safety,” said Winder.

But, she said, it’s up to the directives of the Provincial Health Officer. At this time, all gatherings and events have been suspended until further notice.

When they finally do get the go-ahead to welcome people once again to the Albion Fairgrounds and Planet Ice, it will be up to the board to decide how the show will be moving forward.

Winder worries about the impact of not having a show for the second year in a row. She is concerned that vendors, who would traditionally have a booth at the show, will be hurt financially.

“I know from our customers that for many of them we’ve provided the majority of their sales for the year, and it’s been very, very difficult,” said Winder.

On a positive note, she still gets calls from customers asking for contact information for her exhibitors.

READ MORE: Ridge Meadows Home Show leaders of tomorrow

Winder will not consider doing a virtual show.

“There’s just not the same impact,” remarked Winder, who came to the decision only after consulting a majority of her clients that participate in home shows across North America.

Although there are numerous things that can be done to mitigate risk, organizers have to think about the safety of not only the general public, but of their staff and exhibitors, said Winder.

Last year exhibitors were offered an instant refund. Some accepted and some chose to leave their deposits with the home show in the hope there would be a show this year.

Winder’s team has looked at every aspect of it, and talked to other people in the industry, including their exhibitors.

“Across the board everybody is most concerned about moving forward in a safe, responsible manner,” she said.

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Previous vendors at the Ridge Meadows Home Show. (The News files)

Previous vendors at the Ridge Meadows Home Show. (The News files)