Bendigo's swap meet has been cancelled amid ongoing uncertainties about interstate travel restrictions and the vaccine rollout.
The organising committee made the agonising decision on Monday night, chair Neil Athorn confirmed.
"We have a lot of site holders who would be coming in from interstate and our concern was that something might happen and they would be trapped in Victoria and not able to get home," he said.
"To be fair to everyone we decided we would run it next year when we might have a bit more certainty about COVID-19 and more people are vaccinated."
Mr Athorn hoped the decision would at least bring certainty for stall holders and the local tourism sector, including accommodation providers who were planning out the rest of their years.
The Bendigo National Swap Meet regularly brings in between 17,000 and 20,000 people and is one of the city's biggest drawing cards.
It was a decision no-one wanted to make but the committee wanted to make sure it was done before it started locking in major contracts.
Mr Athorn apologised to people who were looking forward to visiting the swap meet, and who had missed out last year because of a similar pandemic cancellation.
"We've been running this event for 44 years so it's very disappointing to shut it down again," he said.
The decision came as states across Australia locked down areas connected with multiple outbreaks and as Victorian authorities stand guard lest new locally acquired cases surface.
The state is currently managing six close contacts related to the worker who contracted the virus in Queensland, inadvertently triggering a national seeding event.
Mr Athorn said the swap meet decision was made separately to those shutdowns.
The organising committee had previously committed to making a decision by July, he said.
The team was working on a revamped 2022 swap meet plan that would help split up the site and make a bigger, better event COVID-safe.
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