Snagging a job at the Calgary Stampede is looking a little different this year.
With COVID-19 rules and restrictions in place throughout Alberta, the traditional mass application fair wasn't an option. Stampede organizers have taken the process online, while the midway is offering in-person applications with physical distancing in place.
"We have hand sanitizers and gloves, we're doing temperature checks at the door, we're limiting the amount of people to five in the building at the same time, so that's a bit of a challenge," said Scooter Korek with North American Midway Entertainment.
Korek said food positions, ticket selling and some midway game positions are open.
The company is looking to fill around 350 jobs this year — not nearly as many spots as in years past due to the number of restrictions and more spacing throughout the park.
The midway hiring fair runs from June 17 to 19 and again from June 24 to 26 in person at the Trailblazer Centre in Stampede Park.
"I've been applying for a while and it's been hard to find one for like four months," said high school student and job-seeker Baylee Retzer.
"For jobs, it's been kind of rough. But I worked last summer and it was like very busy and masks were very hot."
The Calgary Stampede said the event will employ fewer workers this year by about 1,000 to 1,500 people. The organization said the application process is now closed as they work through current candidates.
"This year, all of our jobs are posted online," said Kristina Barnes, manager of communications and media relations with the Stampede.
"We do see big lineups in other years. This is more of an online lineup, so they are trying to go through and doing those interviews virtually as well."
Barnes said she knows some people within the community aren't ready to visit or work at the Stampede this year. But she added that there have been a lot of people wanting to be part of the team.
"Our team that is recruiting and hiring for all of these jobs have been extremely busy knowing that we don't have the traditional job fair," Barnes said.
"They're doing interviews, [in the] evenings, weekends, talking to as many people as they possibly can, as quickly as possible to get all those jobs filled."
Barnes said this year the Stampede plans to hire a larger than usual cleaning crew to handle COVID-19 enhanced cleaning protocols.
The Stampede experience will be more socially distanced this year, too. Barnes said the midway will be spread out over a larger area and Nashville North will be more of a canopy than a tent to allow for air flow.
"It will look different, more space, things will be spread out a little bit more," Barnes said. "We know that there are some high-traffic areas where people tend to gather. We don't want that happening this year.
"So similar experiences, experiences that we know and love, but a little bit different way to present them this year."