Henty Machinery Field Days cancelled amid 'insurmountable' obstacles

Henty Machinery Field Days cancelled due to coronavirus

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CUT: Jonathan and Leanne Bedggood at the Henty Machinery Field Days.

CUT: Jonathan and Leanne Bedggood at the Henty Machinery Field Days.

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Organisers say they had no choice but to make the "difficult decision".

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The 2020 Henty Machinery Field Days have been cancelled with organisers saying the obstacles to running a successful and safe event were "insurmountable".

Earlier in the year, organisers were optimistic the three-day open air event would be able to run on some scale in September as planned.

But on Thursday, Henty Machinery Field Days chief executive officer Belinda Anderson said the uncertainty around large mass gatherings made organising and planning the event difficult.

She said the HMFD team were devastated for the region but were investigating options for a virtual format of the event.

"It has become apparent the field days will not be able to go ahead in 2020," Mrs Anderson said.

"Without a clear path to the end of this pandemic and the full easing of social restrictions, the obstacles to running a successful, and more importantly safe field days, were insurmountable.

"We are a national event and with state borders closed we would disappoint all our exhibitors from interstate along with the many visitors we have who attend from around the nation and overseas.

"This has been a difficult decision for organisers knowing it would disappoint all of our stakeholders, including members, staff, sponsors, exhibitors community groups and visitors."

The event is the nation's largest field days, with an economic value of more than $92 million and were due to be held on September 22-24.

In a normal year up to 800 exhibitors attend the field days which attracts about 50,000 people to the town of 1200-odd residents annually.

The field days have run since 1963 and have only been cancelled twice before, in 1970 and 1971.

Mrs Anderson said the HMFD Co-operative would use the time provided to improve assets to ensure a bigger and better experience at the 2021 event on September 21-23.

"We thank everyone for their support and patience while we deliberated on the decision," she said.

"The field days have been cancelled twice in their history due to economic recession in 1970 and 1971, and regrettably the HMFD Board was forced to make the call this year.

"We are devastated for the region, our volunteers, the 22 community organisations, thousands of exhibitors and tens of thousands of visitors - it will be sorely missed."

The story Henty Machinery Field Days cancelled amid 'insurmountable' obstacles first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.

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