'We'll be back in 2022': Edmonton Expo cancelled for second year due to pandemic

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Anime, cosplay and comic fans expressed disappointment over the cancellation of the Edmonton Expo.

Organizers announced the “difficult decision” to pull the plug on the event scheduled to run this weekend on social media Thursday, saying it was in response to the new provincial COVID-19 restrictions announced the day before and in line with their commitment to safety.

“Rest assured, friends, that we’ll be back in 2022, more ready than ever to celebrate fandom in the fullest,” said the statement posted to Facebook and Twitter.

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Among the celebrities on the Expo bill were actors William Shatner, Christina Ricci and Corey Feldman; comic creators William Delaney of The Simpsons and Marvel and DC creator Tom Grummett, and several cosplayers and voice actors.

It is the second year in a row the event, which draws tens of thousands of people, has been cancelled due to the pandemic.

“The decision to cancel in response to the provincial state of emergency was certainly disheartening for everyone involved,” said spokesperson Alex Kingcott. This year would have been the eighth annual event.

On Wednesday, the Alberta government announced sweeping COVID-19 restrictions including mandatory work-from-home measures, indoor private gathering limits of 10 people and a vaccine passport program requiring businesses and venues that adopt it to require proof of vaccination or negative test.

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“I’m disappointed but I’m more disappointed in the state of our province right now and the way that this ‘Open for Summer’ went,” said Colinne Stroud, who was scheduled to be a costume contest judge.

“I judged at the Calgary Expo too (on Sept. 10-12). It was totally safe. They had a masking policy. The guests were really good. Everybody kept their distance. (But) with the new restrictions, the idea of the Restrictions Exemption Program, it’s just too convoluted for the Expo to maneuver. I own a hair salon and (the rules) are so convoluted. People are trying to get in touch with our MLAs to learn how the restrictions affect us.”

Nikki Wright also felt let down when she heard the Expo wasn’t going ahead.

“It’s been a tradition of mine and my daughter’s (since 2016),” Wright said. “She is a budding artist who loves anime so we were super excited to stroll through Artist’s Alley. We were extra excited this year since it was cancelled last year, for the same reason. But I get it, living in Alberta with the COVID-19 numbers the way they are, safety first.”

Both ticket holders and exhibitors will be notified by email about refund options. Those with passes can decide to transfer them to next year.

bmcbride@postmedia.com

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