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It was announced yesterday Southern Field Days was to be cut next year, the news coming less than a week after the cancellation of the Burt Munro Challenge.
Both would have been held in February and typically bring thousands of people to the region.
Great South’s tourism general manager Bobbi Brown has been a dairy farmer for 20 years and understood how upset the rural community must be.
The last Field Days was attended by more than 40,000 people. Ms Brown explained that it was a major social event as well as a retail opportunity.
It was a shame, economically, but she also stressed how important that social aspect was.
"It’s sad it’s off the radar but the second thing is around the fact it’s important right now people can socialise, especially for the rural sector when everyone has come out of calving and lambing.
"It’s a shame economically but also a shame for the wellbeing of our rural sector."
For those attending it was an opportunity to have everything you might need in one place, while contractors, retailers and shops used it to sell their products.
"They’re going to have to be
creative to find a new vehicle to sell their stuff," she said.
Ms Brown thought the committee had been brave in their approach.
"Uncertainty is really hard to work with."
To lose two of the biggest events was huge, she said. She estimated the loss was in the millions.
However, she also had no doubt both events would be back.
"We’re almost there. We’ve just got to stick it out to the end, get vaccinated. That’s the big message here."
She encouraged people to stay strong: "We are going to get through this. It will be like a bad memory at some point."