SIX months of fundraising has saved a 145-year agriculture show from extinction.
The Australian Sheep and Wool Show, which returns this weekend for the first time since 2019, lost almost $500,000 after being cancelled the day before its 2021 event launched.
Show chief executive Margot Falconer said it took six months to raise the funds needed to continue the national event.
"I don't say that flippantly," she said. "Funds came from local, state and federal government. They came from contractors and suppliers who didn't bill us for things they did for us last year.
"It came from sponsors who actually left their sponsorship with us and actually sponsored a non-event (in 2021), it came from our members who bought additional memberships and made donations."
Ms Falconer said the support from government, business and community showed how important the show was to so many.
"We'll be forever grateful for everyone that helped us," she said. "It shows how important it is - not just to the sheep breeders of Australia, but to Bendigo and surrounds. We've been going for 145 years and have had 22 in Bendigo. We'll be here for a lot longer."
With the Australian Sheep and Wool Show launching today, Ms Falconer is hopeful the event will see more than 30,000 visitors.
"That would probably include 12,000 (on Friday) and 10,000 to 12,000 on Saturday," she said.
"It might rain Sunday, so I think a lot of people might decide (on the day).
"The 2019 event was actually a record gate and I think then it was probably 26,000."
The 2022 event already look to be bigger than predecessors with more stalls being setup that in previous years.
"It is bigger. For a start we have sheep from every state," Ms Falconer said.
"Last year, through COVID, we were never expecting Western Australia but we've got all of the states this year.
"We have so many trade sites. We were out here last week measuring up every bits of dirt to find a spot to put people.
"We've got a few new things like the sausage competition in Festival of Lamb on Saturday as well as all the other good stuff fashion parades, dog trials and shearing."
Ms Falconer said with no mask mandates introduced in Victoria, it looks like the 2022 Australian Sheep and Wool Show can proceed with confidence.
"As the state government didn't mandate mask wearing yesterday, I figured they're not going to shut the state down," she said.
"Having said that we have not canceled the insurance policy that we've taken out."
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