There will be no going to the Henty Field Days next month — this year’s event has been cancelled over concerns and restrictions imposed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
For the second year in a row the Henty Machinery Field Days has been impacted by the pandemic
As southern Australia’s single biggest agricultural event, the field days attracts more than 60,000 visitors each year and has an estimated value of $92m
Event organisers said they felt they had to give exhibitors fair warning and did not want to cancel on the eve of the September event
The massive agribusiness event, which organisers say attracts more than 60,000 visitors each year and has an economic value of $92 million, was also cancelled in 2020.
The Henty Machinery Field Days (HMFD) board will now look into the possibility of rescheduling for March next year.
Chief executive Belinda Anderson said the decision was made after New South Wales Health “strongly recommended” the event be rescheduled.
Border restrictions also played a part, with 50 per cent of exhibitors coming from interstate.
“Six weeks from the event seems like a long time, but an event of this size does not happen overnight and we owe it to those businesses committed to the 2021 event to give them fair warning,” Ms Anderson said.
“Snap lock downs will still be possible in September and HMFD cannot risk a repeat of what was seen in Victoria and Queensland on the eve of major agricultural events.”
Planning for two events next year
This year’s cancellation would make it the fourth in the event’s 59-year history, but organisers are hoping if they can postpone until March they can hold two events in 2022, with the second one in September as planned.
Henty Machinery Field Days is now regarded as southern Australia’s single biggest agricultural event, with more than 800 exhibitors on the permanent 105 hectare site.
Following last year’s cancellation, Ms Anderson said the organisation would be under a lot of pressure if it could not postpone this year’s event.
“Fortunately we’re in a reasonable financial situation at the moment, but more cancellations would certainly put more pressure on us and it’s just something we need to look at and manage well,” she said.
“We thought COVID might have settled down a lot quicker than it did, but in the end it was probably a decision that had to be made.”
Blow to community
The event is a significant one for the community calendar, with many groups using it as a fundraising opportunity.
Dot Livermore from Culcairn Swimming Pool and Community Centre said she was “sad” it had been cancelled again.
“It will affect some of our community that rely on that money for some of those things that they do through the year,” she said.
“The Swimming Pool Committee doesn’t do any other fundraising.”
Ms Livemore said the local football club, public school and tennis club would all miss out on the chance to raise funds, but she understood the decision.
“You’ve got to keep your community safe,” she said.
“We don’t have COVID in our area and we certainly don’t want COVID in our area, so they’ve done the only thing they can.”
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