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21 July 2021
The entire July 21, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
Organisers of the Mallee’s largest agricultural and agribusiness trade show at Speed will look to 2022 for a chance to return the event to its former glory.
Speed Lions Club, which organises Mallee Machinery Field Days, made the tough decision to cancel the event for the second consecutive year after meeting late on Thursday night on the cusp of Victoria’s fifth COVID-19 lockdown.
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Field days secretary Andrew McLean said proceeding with plans for the August 4 and 5 showcase represented a major health and socio-economic risk for Speed and supporting communities.
“We had close to a full house of about 300 exhibitors booked in,” he said.
“A lot of our exhibitors come from New South Wales and Queensland who wouldn’t be able to make it here. They were having serious doubts about attending. If we got to the situation where we had another lockdown right before the week of our event, it would be chaos.”
Mr McLean said the event would normally attract visitors in the thousands to explore a range of machinery and equipment on display.
“We get up to about 4000 people each day,” he said.
“There were whispers in the community that people were keen to get out and attend something like this because everyone has been locked down for too long.
“We were expecting that we might have had a large attendance this year, but at this stage, we won’t be getting anything.”
Mr McLean said as a primary feature on Speed’s event calendar, the field days served as the biggest fundraising opportunity for the town of less than 100 and its neighbouring communities.
Organisers estimate the event generates between $50,000 and $100,000 each year.
“We have about 20 community groups that help with fundraising, doing certain jobs for us,” Mr McLean said.
“They will all miss out for the second year in a row. Our community was certainly very pleased and excited that we were going to go ahead earlier in the year and probably very disappointed now.”
Mr McLean said although Speed Lions Club members were disappointed, they looked forward to a stronger 2022.