The Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition is held annually on the grounds and inside the Antigonish Arena.

ANTIGONISH: For the second year in a row, the exhibition grounds off of James Street in Antigonish will remain vacant as this year’s Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition (ENSE) has been cancelled.

In a recently issued statement, the Exhibition Association of Nova Scotia (EANS) announced in response to COVID-19 and the need to follow current public health guidelines and restrictions, they have made the decision to not host traditional exhibitions or fairs for the 2021 season.

“We know that across Nova Scotia, event organizers are making hard decisions for 2021 to ensure the safety of our volunteers, employees, sponsors, exhibitors and public,” EANS president Sarah Amirault said. “Our collective decision does not preclude exhibitions and fairs from hosting smaller events that meet all public health requirements. Planning is underway and announcements will be made in later the year.”

The ENSE, who celebrated 155 years in 2018, posted on their Facebook page that, while planning had already begun for some exhibitions, many exhibitions unfortunately will not be able to even offer a smaller scale event.

Held at the Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition Grounds, this annual event in Antigonish showcases regional agricultural showmanship and production through a variety of events, contests and displays.

The 13 exhibitions and eight fairs that make up EANS are committed to keeping their communities safe and healthy, while ensuring that they are key partners in the recovery and rebuilding of their communities post-COVID.

“Exhibitions and fairs play an important role in Nova Scotia’s agricultural community and emphasize the benefits of locally grown and made products,” Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell said. “Government supports the Exhibitions Association of Nova Scotia and agrees with not holding traditional exhibitions and fairs this year in the effort to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19. We remain committed to working with the association to promote agriculture in our province.”

Amirault believes we can adapt and continue to celebrate agricultural and rural life across generations, contribute to our local and provincial economies, and provide public education and engagement about agriculture and sustainable food production.