Henty field days canned for 2020

Belinda Anderson
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Virtual field days option currently being considered

The Henty Machinery Field Days organising committee has announced its decision to cancel the annual event in September this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Henty Machinery Field Days chief executive officer, Belinda Anderson, said the unknowns for large mass gatherings beyond the Federal Government’s stage three roll-out of restrictions made organising and planning the event difficult.

“It has become apparent the field days will not be able to go ahead in 2020,” 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.”

The Henty Machinery Field Days is one of the country’s leading agricultural trade events, with an economic value of more than $92 million and were due to be held on September 22 to 24, 2020.

Every year, the field days attract an average of around 60,000 visitors from around the country and the world through its gates over three days.

“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,” Anderson said.

“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.”

HMFD has been cancelled twice before in the event’s nearly 60 years’ history – in 1970 and 1971 due to economic recession; and for the third time in 2020.

“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.”

Anderson said the HMFD Co-operative will now focus instead on improving assets to ensure a bigger and better experience at the 2021 event on September 21 to 23.

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

However, all hope is not lost just yet as Anderson said the team is also busy investigating options for a virtual format of the event in September with more information to be released at a later date.

If a virtual event goes ahead, HMFD will join a string of field days which have pivoted online to still offer a platform for businesses and visitors to interact and transact.

Tasmania's Agfest led the way earlier this year, with Casino's (NSW) Primex field days also hosting an online business hub ahead of a planned physical event later this year in September.

Henty field days canned for 2020