More than 77,000 visitors attend five-day fair, shattering previous high
Lethbridge, Alta. – Pristine weather, exciting attractions, the new Agri-food Hub & Trade Centre, and free admission for the community fuelled by Gas King all contributed to a record-breaking attendance year for Whoop-Up Days.
A total of 77,263 visitors attended the five-day fair from Aug. 22-26. That attendance is more than 160 per cent higher than the six-year average, and well-above the modern high attendance of 37,536 in 2019, and the historical reported record of 69,964 in 2007. Saturday set a new single-day Whoop-Up Days record with 23,310 visitors.
“We are so grateful for the support of our community, and the incredible turnout for Whoop-Up Days,” says Mike Warkentin, Lethbridge & District Exhibition CEO. “We took a chance by going to a free admission model, fuelled by Gas King, and the community responded by showing us this is an event it cares about and that people want to visit. We couldn’t be happier and are excited to deliver an even bigger event in 2024!”
Attendance also increased dramatically in the second year of the Lethbridge & District Pro Rodeo, wit
h 5,116 attendees over the three-day event, up from 3,224 in 2022. The championship rodeo featured competitors including World, Canadian, and Calgary Stampede champions, competing against bucking stock from Duane Kesler Championship Rodeo Stock. Each night also included three heats of exciting Relay Races, co-presented by the Blackfoot Confederacy. The Lethbridge & District Pro Rodeo is the only professional rodeo in Canada to feature Relay Races as part of its presentation.
Other well-received attractions included the West Coast Amusements midway, live music on the Original 16 stage, the Siksikaitsitapi Pow Wow and Princess Pageant, Global Pet Foods’ SuperDogs, the Wildlife Festival, Whoop-Up Days Marketplace, Pure Power Wrestling’s Hot Summer Night, food trucks, beer gardens, the Fireworks Finale presented by ATB Wealth and West Coast Amusements, and the iconic Jumbo Ears.
“The success of this year’s Whoop-Up Days has shown that free gate admission is what the community wants, so we are excited to carry this new tradition into 2024,” says Warkentin. “Gas King is back as a partner and we are excited for other community partners to become a part of this long-standing community celebration.”
Lethbridge & District Exhibition 50/50 Lottery in support of YWCA Lethbridge & District
One lucky winner has received a boost of more than $42,000 after being randomly selected as the winner of the Lethbridge & District Exhibition 50/50 Lottery. Jill Grindle of Calgary had her name pulled when the draw took place on Tuesday morning. Her total prize is $42,332.50 after nearly $85,000 worth of tickets were sold, more than doubling the support from the program’s first year.
Grindle took home half of the pot, while 2023 charitable partner YWCA Lethbridge & District, and Lethbridge & District Exhibition will each benefit from the other half.
“My family and I are absolutely thrilled to be the recipients of the Lethbridge & District Exhibition 50/50 Lottery prize,” says Grindle. “Each year, we make the trip from Calgary to attend Whoop-Up Days with our daughter and her grandparents. Because of the free admission, we decided to treat ourselves to a 50/50 ticket this year. Not only did we have a fantastic afternoon taking in the rides, but we won something for the first time in our lives. After a very tough year of layoffs and uncertainty for our family, to say this money is going to a good place is an understatement. Thank you to Lethbridge & District Exhibition for drawing our name and making what was a simple fun afternoon for a struggling family, a life altering experience.”
Lethbridge & District Exhibition celebrated its 125-year history by launching the Lethbridge & District Exhibition Lotteries program in 2022.
Whoop-Up Days Parade winners Some morning rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of Whoop-Up Days Parade attendees who were treated to a stunning display of more than 100 entries, led by parade marshal Corb Lund. Chinook Equipment, with a Mario Kart themed float, rose above the rest, earning the Grand Aggregate Trophy as top entry as chosen by the parade judges. Category winners included:
Children & Youth: Lethbridge Homeschoolers
Historical: Blackfoot Confederacy
Small commercial: Bella Elite Beauty & Barber Academy
Equine: Lethbridge Métis
Visiting: Town of Vulcan
Large commercial: Chinook Equipment
Community: Lethbridge Roller Derby Guild
Most entertaining: Lethbridge BMX
Grand aggregate: Chinook Equipment
Looking forward Whoop-Up Days returns to Lethbridge & District Exhibition in 2024, from Aug. 20 to 24. More information about Whoop-Up Days is available at whoopupdays.ca.