2020 was not the banner year that Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) was expecting, but like the rest of us, they made the best of it.
REAL CEO Tim Reid says the year started out with some great momentum.
“We had a great first quarter of the year with some real strong success in terms of our hockey tournament hosting, as well as a record number of concerts, so we actually started off the year with a real strong year,” said Reid. “Then unfortunately in March, we were all introduced to COVID-19. Our business probably turned off faster than most, and frankly it’s remained turned off ever since.”
He says REAL had to be creative in finding ways to use the campus in safe way. This inspired the summer day camp REAL Kids, Halloween at Mosaic Stadium, a drive-thru Roughrider Day, and the sold-out drive-in Bret Kissel concerts.
Reid says while those events contributed to a memorable year, he wouldn’t mind never having to host them again.
“If we could never do a drive-in concert again, we’d probably be thrilled with that, I mean it was great given the circumstance, but it certainly wasn’t a 5,000 person Brandt Centre show for Brett Kissel, or 35,000 or 40,000 people at a Garth Brooks concert,” said Reid. “I think we’d like to get back to doing what we’ve always done, that being said, it was still pretty special in the fact that we were able to get people together.”
Reid hopes one event that will continue is Halloween at Mosaic Stadium, saying it provided a safe and fun way for families to trick or treat.
Reid says REAL continues to plan for annual events like the Queen City Ex, and Agribition despite their cancellation in 2020. He adds the organization is poised to have a big return when restrictions are finally relaxed.
“Entertainment wise, if we turned on January 1st, we actually are set up to have a banner year on the entertainment side of things,” said Reid. “We’re also optimistic that people will look forward to getting back to the more traditional days, and what we all love in events, and coming together for a great party, a great concert, or a great sporting event.”
Reid says a positive thing that 2020 brought to the organization is the time to evaluate how everything is run, adding that when they can come back, they’ll be better than ever.