Coronavirus: Cancellation of CNE, festivals leaves vendors struggling to make ends meet

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Festival vendors were dealt another huge blow during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic when it was announced the 2020 edition of the Canadian National Exhibition was cancelled.

“The CNE is the entire year’s income. Losing it is huge… you can’t just go online and replace those sales numbers,” said Kimberly Harvey, a previously scheduled vendor at “The Ex” in August.

It’s one of many signature summer events in the Greater Toronto Area cancelled in the wake of the pandemic and some organizers are looking even further ahead by shutting down festivals in the fall as well.

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READ MORE: Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition cancelled for 2nd time in history

“I literally don’t know how I’m going to pay my rent and bills in July… and that should be when I’m in the middle of making my year’s income because we’re very seasonal,” explained Harvey, who owns My Lil Gem and makes handcrafted jewelry.

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Most festival vendors invest tens of thousands of dollars in the winter towards buying supplies, making their inventory, as well as securing booths at festivals and paying equipment and event fees.

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