THE KEMPSEY Show Society last night made the difficult - but at the end of the day straightforward - decision to pull the pin on next month's event.
It is the second time this year the scheduled annual show has had to be abandoned after the flood forced the postponement of the event held traditionally in April.
Kempsey Show Society president Stewart Witchard said the committee had held off making a call on the September event for as long as possible - but in the end had no choice.
"We had to cancel due to the ongoing COVID crisis," Stewart told the Macleay Argus.
Kempsey Shire is ring-fenced by lockdowns - to the south in the Hunter, west at Armidale and Tamworth and to the north at Ballina and Byron. Stewart said these areas affected by coronavirus alerts were "our draw area for competitors and stall-holders".
And the Showmen's Guild who represent the ride operators is primarily Queensland-based - if they were to travel to Kempsey they would have to quarantine when they got home, making it untenable.
"My committee is very down, very disheartened. When we initially decided to go ahead (with a September show) we copped a lot of flak from other shows who had cancelled," Stewart said.
Yesterday marked six weeks' from the scheduled event, and forced the committee's reluctant hand.
NSW COVID cases:
"It came to the time where people would be getting their cattle ready. And do we go and spend 30 or 40 grand to put on a show and then we get lockdowned the week of the event - that would be money down the drain.
"It was a a very tough position, but there was absolutely nothing we can do about it.
"What if we went ahead and someone gets it (COVID) and the Kempsey Show becomes a cluster? The safety of the community has to be our priority."
Despite the setback - last year's show was also scuppered by coronavirus - the resilient committee will now firmly focus on the society's annual general meeting at the showground at 7pm on August 24.
"All are invited. We're looking for new members. Currently we have 11 directors and 18 members, and we're all volunteers," Stewart said.
After the AGM, the committee will take a short break before getting to work on the 2022 show slated for April.
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