For just the second time in its 131 year history the Wingham Show, due to be held from Friday March 24 to Sunday March 27, has been cancelled.
In 2013, the show was cancelled due to severe wet weather. This year, the Wingham Show Society says it has had to scrap the show in the interest of the safety and well being of patrons and animals on the Wingham Showground.
The society says that one of the major areas of concern is the grandstand. They contracted a structural engineer to look over the building and the report found structural issues with the roof and support poles. In August 2016 the Wingham Showground Trust was given a grant of $20,160 by the Public Reserves Management Fund Program for repairs to the grandstand to eliminate work health and safety issues. Work on the grandstand was started approximately two weeks ago and is ongoing.
In addition to safety concerns the society claim an unexpected substantial increase in costs as further reason for the cancellation.
“These costs were not budgeted for and were placed upon us without any prior consultation by the trust,” Wingham Show Society president Elaine Turner said.
“The decision to cancel our show was not taken lightly and is a huge disappointment and a financial blow to our town and businesses who rely on the additional visitors who spend their time in Wingham.
“The well being of all patrons and animals that would use the showground for our show has been and always will be our priority,” Mrs Turner said.
The committee expressed regret and apologised to all who are inconvenienced by the cancellation.
“We are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision, as there have been 12 months of preparation done by our committee to make our 2017 show a success,” Mrs Turner said.
In a brief statement to the Times, Wingham Showground Trust said, “We received an email at 12.53pm on Thursday, March 16 from the Wingham Show Society stating they had cancelled the show. No reason was given.”
The dog show will go ahead on Sunday, March 27 at Taree Showground.