West Coast Amusements opened their midway attraction in a large Chilliwack parking lot Thursday — with strict pandemic safety protocols in effect.
There’s a ferris wheel and bumper cars to ride with midway fare like mini donuts and cotton candy.
“We are so excited to partner with the Coliseum for a Mini Summer Fair,” said Tarah Hauser, spokesperson for West Coast Amusements (WCA).
The little WCA midway will run all summer long, noon to 8 p.m., Thursday to Sunday until Labour Day just beside the Coliseum.
Before it opened there was some chatter on Facebook, and a complaint into city hall about the risks of opening a midway amid a global pandemic of COVID-19.
“Chilliwack is a bit of a guinea pig for West Coast Amusements in a sense,” Hauser acknowledged.
WCA announced in March that it would be postponing its major events across Western Canada, so the mini fair in Chilliwack is an experiment to gauge community interest.
“Playland as you know got underway a couple of weeks ago, and they’ve had tremendous challenges because they are in an enclosed park with so many more attractions. But we should be fine here.”
Staff will enforce a 50-person limit inside the gates, there are decals on the ground for spacing, sanitizer available, and the request that all patrons wear masks.
Mayor Ken Popove and Coun. Harv Westeringh came for a tour just before the noon opening on July 23.
The mayor confirmed a complaint had come in to city hall about allowing the seasonal attraction to open in Chilliwack.
“I think the main focus should be on the ways they are making sure people will stay safe, and following all the WorkSafe and Dr. Bonnie Henry protocols,” Popove said. “They’ve done that so I think they should get some credit for going the extra mile to bring a little much-needed fun to Chilliwack, while keeping folks protected.”
Ensuring the pandemic protocols they’ve trained staff to implement are being followed will be the goal, Hauser said. She and husband, Rob, will be personally walking around the midway to make sure it’s happening.
WCA is a Chilliwack-based company founded in 1962 that has grown to become the largest Canadian midway operation in Western Canada.
“There are four generations of Hausers that operate West Coast Amusements’ three travelling units, which travel to different locations with over 300 people in order to accommodate a wide variety of clientele.”
WCA tackled the safety issue directly on their website as well.
“The health and safety of our team members and our customers is always our top priority.
“As the Coronovirus (COVID-19) continues to be a concern in Canada, we are receiving increasing numbers of inquiries regarding the steps that WCA is taking when it comes to safety at our events,” according to the WCA website.
“We want to assure our customers that we are placing hand sanitizer stations throughout the midway, games, and food areas,” as well as ensuring there is signage and direction by staff on the safety protocols.
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