WEST Gippsland is set to host the first major agricultural event since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with Farm World at Lardner Park receiving formal approval to proceed from the Victorian government.

Farm World was one of the first major events to be cancelled in 2020 as the pandemic struck, leaving exhibitors uncertain about what the event would look like in 2021.

Through the exceptional work of the Lardner Park team, Farm World has been reworked to comply with strict Victorian government coronavirus guidelines and will welcome back both exhibitors and visitors on March 26.

While parts of Farm World will look different to comply with Victorian government guidelines, CEO Craig Debnam said the event would still maintain its agricultural feel with this year’s theme being ‘Return to Heritage’.

Farm World 2021 will also feature its now traditional Telstra Women in Ag luncheon on Friday in the main event centre as well as the new Commonwealth Bank – Yarn on the Farm – networking event at the heritage rotunda on Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday and Sunday, the main event centre will come alive, with local business ‘String and Salt’ conducting live cooking demonstrations with the CWA showcasing local suppliers and producers, and the Warragul Historical Society showcasing Farm World over the generations with photography and rolling visual displays.

Farm World 2021 runs from March 26 to 28 at Lardner Park.

“Our entire team at Lardner Park has been focused on developing a COVID-safe event plan in line with Victorian government guidelines and the formal approval this week means rain, hail or shine, Farm World will go ahead in 2021,” Mr Debnam said recently.

“This is a significant milestone for regional events with Farm World 2021 set to be one of the first events since the pandemic started that will allow patrons to move freely around displays, exhibits and demonstrations.

“The entire Lardner Park team is committed to delivering this event which supports our local community and our agricultural sector.

“It will be fantastic to see not only exhibitors again, but patrons and visitors including school groups who come to Farm World to learn about our primary production sector and the important role it plays in our state.”

Lardner Park board chair, Ian Cougle, said the support of patrons, advertisers, exhibitors and the community had been overwhelming, and the entire Lardner Park board was excited to be leading the way for the recommencement of regional events.

“The endorsement of our COVID-safe plan by the Victorian government recognises just how valuable this event is to the West Gippsland community, the investment it brings in our region and the jobs it helps create.”

Member for Narracan, Gary Blackwood MLA, said: “This is a major win for local traders as well as Lardner Park, and I cannot understate how vital it is that this event was given timely approval to proceed to support the Lardner Park team’s work, exhibitors and visitors.

“It’s going to be another amazing event for agricultural and the West Gippsland community.”

COVID-safe with online tickets

TICKETS for this year’s three-day Farm World program will be available online only.

In line with Lardner Park’s comprehensive COVID-safe plan, all tickets must be purchased online for contact tracing.
Daily crowds will be capped at 12,000 people.

The new three-day program includes a ‘twilight trade’ day on Saturday when Farm World will remain open until 7pm.

The program includes:
• Friday, March 26: 9am to 5pm – Farmers’ Day.
• Saturday, March 27: 10am to 7pm – Twilight Trade.
• Sunday, March 28th: 9am to 4pm – Farming Families’ Day.

Every exhibitor will have a COVID plan in place for their individual site, with equipment and displays regularly disinfected to maintain a safe environment.

The car park shuttle bus service will be cleaned after every run.

Lardner Park chief executive officer Craig Debnam said people would not be admitted without a pre-purchased ticket.

“We need it for contact details, so we urge people to please adapt and please change with us.

“We have a robust COVID plan and keeping the community safe is at the forefront of everything we do,” he said.

Another major change will be the move to a three-day program from Friday to Sunday.

Mr Debnam said the move to a three-day program was largely driven by the exhibitors. They surveyed 600 exhibitors to determine how Farm World should be staged.

“COVID gave us a chance to stop, breath and listen to our customers.

“We didn’t want Farm World to become a big market and lose its heart and soul.

“I don’t care if it’s not the biggest, but it has to be the one they value the most so that exhibitors know they have been listened to,” he said.

Tickets can be purchased online at events.ticketbooth.com.au/event/farm-world-2021.