Central Victorians, event committees, accommodation providers and businesses are reeling after two integral community events have been forced to cancel their 2021 plans.
The Energy Breakthrough Management Group made the decision Monday to cancel the 2021 Maryborough Energy Breakthrough Festival, due to be held from November 17-21.
The Elmore and District Machinery Field Days committee made the difficult decision on Wednesday to cancel their event scheduled for October.
Both committees list the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and related restrictions as too difficult to navigate to pull off successful events.
President of the Elmore Field Days Scott Nichol said the current interstate and international border restrictions could not guarantee the usual exhibitors would be able to attend.
"Whilst the Elmore Field Days committee is disappointed to have to make this decision, our committee's main concern and deciding factor is the public safety of our community, volunteers, exhibitors and attendees," he said.
"We plan to be back bigger and better on October 4, 5 and 6, 2022."
The Elmore Field Days has been running annually since 1964 and has only been forced to cancel twice; in 1975 due to floods and 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Central Goldfields Shire councillor and Energy Breakthrough Management Group chairperson Liesbeth Long said it was heartbreaking to cancel the Maryborough event.
"The safety of participants, visitors, volunteers and local Maryborough residents was paramount in making the decision," she said.
"We apologise for the disappointment this cancellation will cause, particularly as it is the second consecutive year that we have had to make this decision."
The much-loved and highly recognised STEM festival attracts over 20,000 people, including 350 school teams, to Maryborough each November over five days and the committee felt that holding a public event of such size brought with it too many health risks to all those involved.
In response to the decision, the Management Group are working with a number of Energy Breakthrough schools to consider smaller, COVIDsafe celebration events.
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