Elkhorn’s Mark Humphries new head of Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba

August 4, 2022, 9:46 am
Sierra D'Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Mark Humphries was recently announced as the new General Manager of the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba.

The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba recently welcomed Mark Humphries as the new General Manager.

Humphries will fill the position that has been vacant for two years. He will oversee the day-to-day operations, adhere to policies and budgets, and provide leadership to employees of the non-profit organization.

“I’m excited for the challenges ahead, it’s going to be an interesting learning curve going forward, but I’m very excited to be joining a very productive team with a good long history,” said Humphries.

The General Manager position has been vacant since June of 2020 when Ron Kristjansson retired, a position he held for six years. The search for his replacement was thwarted by the pandemic.

After the pandemic restrictions started to lift in 2021, the Provincial Exhibition successfully hosted Manitoba AG EX with the required rules and regulations, then the 2022 Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and the Manitoba Summer Fair.

“Covid has been difficult for everyone within this industry, it’s definitely going to be an interesting task trying to get ourselves away from that,” he said.

“It’s not just the Provincial Ex, I think it’s everyone in the entertainment industry who are now going into a different path and trying to attract those customers back in.

“I think that will be a challenge going forward, but people are out and about at concerts, shows, and holidays are all back on people’s agendas. I think it will just be a matter of time until we get up to speed again.

“The last winter fair that Manitoba held this year was successful, and it looks like it will be that way for next year as well. Everyone’s already busy putting ideas together and pushing that to go forward, which is great.”

This year’s Manitoba AG Ex will be happening from October 26-29. Followed by Manitoba’s Exhibition Winter Fair on March 27 to April 1.

“I think everyone has attended these fairs in the past for their own entertainment, enjoyment and socialization. People enjoy getting out of the house and meeting new people,” Humphries said.

“Also on the educational side, most of the fairs have an educational aspect to them. We also have a summer fair which will be next year from June 7 to 11.

“We also have a president’s dinner. Each year the outgoing presidents of the Manitoba Provincial Exhibition attend, it’s a great sponsor event for the exhibition, that’s held on February 23.

“It’s one of those events where we try to get the message out for the organization, but also to celebrate what the president and chair have done for the organization over the last year.”

Future plans for Westwood Ranch and Garden Centre
After deciding to close the animal exhibit at the Westwood Ranch and Garden Centre, Humphries spoke about what his future plans are for the ranch.

“We announced recently that we are closing our animal exhibits in September, we’re still going to go ahead with our greenhouses and garden centre. This is going to make life easier for everyone at home now that I’m working away,” he said.

“We’re going to be adding some other events to the garden centre for next spring.”

He explained why they decided to shut down the animal exhibit.

“We didn’t take any more animals in over the Covid period, obviously we had no idea during that time when the doors were going to be back open,” he said.

“We stopped all the breeding programs and made sure we cut that down to a minimum. Some animals will be going to Zoo sites, and the commercial animals will be going to farms or the private owners. Each animal will be assessed and won’t go anywhere until we’re happy it will have a good home.”

Humphries and his wife, Jill, have two grown children. The family moved to Manitoba from the United Kingdom about 15 years ago, and for the last several years have been operating a greenhouse and small farm about an hour west of Brandon. Their daughter, Jess, recently completed her Law Degree and is articling in Virden. Their son, Thomas, is in Ontario studying for a PhD in Computer Science.

Humphries said he is excited to start his new position as general manager for the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know the staff and the systems that are put in place. It’s a complicated year with every show that follows one after another, by the time you finish one you start preparing for the next one,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see how that all works, as well working with the all the board members and volunteers.”