Next week's Australian Sheep and Wool Show is expected to deliver an $8 million economic boost to the Greater Bendigo region in one of the biggest events in the city since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.
Organisers are expecting 30,000-plus people through the gate for the three-day event at the Prince of Wales Showgrounds which starts on Friday, July 15.
Sheep breeders from every state in Australia will be there with about 3000 sheep on show and vying for the champion ribbons for each breed.
The biggest sheep show of its kind in the country, the show will feature shearing competitions and workshops, dog trials, Australian wool fashion parades, trade sites and ram sales as part of a bumper weekend.
Australian Sheep and Wool Show chief executive officer Margot Falconer said preparations for the event were going "brilliantly".
"The marquees are being built as we speak, the Merino marquee is nearly fully erected and if you drive past (the showgrounds) you will see they've started building on the oval," she said.
"There are 26 separate sheep breeds, the trade sites are all sold out and we've had an abundance of entries for the dog trial and the shearers.
"For the first show back in three years. it's looking really good."
When the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, organisers took the decision there and then to cancel that year's event.
The show was ready to go ahead in 2021 but a snap statewide lockdown forced organisers to cancel the night before its opening day.
"In 2020 we pulled the pin and last year we had the pin pulled on us," Ms Falconer said.
"We lost hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Advanced ticket sales for next week's event are already up 30 per cent on last year with thousands of people expected to travel to Bendigo for the show.
"Post COVID, no QR and no restrictions - it's pretty crazy but a really good crazy," Ms Falconer said.
"It will deliver more than $8 million in economic benefit to Bendigo.
"You cannot book a motel room in the city at the moment.
"Breeders will go out to the pubs and to Masons and Woodhouse and all the restaurants because a lot of them live in areas that are quite remote.
"I know they will frequent establishments while they're here and spend money in the town."
Even with everything going on, Ms Falconer was most looking forward to the return of the camaraderie of the sheep breeders.
"Watching all the breeders have a reunion," she said.
"They've all missed each other so much and they can't wait to catch up - that's the vibe I'm getting talking to them through the phone."
Organisers will relocate their office out to the showgrounds on Monday with pens being set up on the Tuesday as the anticipation builds.
"Thursday the majority of the sheep and sites arrive and then Friday - boom," Ms Falconer said.
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