THE South Gippsland Dairy Expo, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, September 8 and 9, has been cancelled.

Members of the Strzelecki Lions organising committee met last week, after Victoria went into lockdown, to consider the status of the event this year but remained undecided about its immediate future.

However, according to promoter of the event, Deanne Kennedy, when the daily COVID-19 numbers started to rise again in Melbourne, they felt they had no alternative but to abandon plans for next month’s expo.

As it turns out, with Melbourne extending its lockdown for a further two weeks, plus introducing a curfew, it was an obvious call.

“The event was scheduled for September 8 and 9 but the critical dates for us are two weeks earlier when we want to set up marquees and all the rest,” Ms Kennedy said.

“Presently you’re allowed to have 300 people at outdoor events, but we need to be able to have 1000 and the prospect of that being in place by the first week of September was too much of a risk for us.”

It’s a crying shame for Victoria’s most important milk-based promotion and trade services event.

This year’s South Gippsland Dairy Expo had already stitched up 100 exhibitors, 15 gold-class sponsors, four silver sponsors, 20 Udder Truth competition contributors, and 16 gumboot event prizes.

Major sponsors included Burra Foods and Saputo, together with Reid Stockfeeds.

And unlike last year, there’s no time for the organisers of the expo to roll out the virtual expo they staged last year.

“It’s very disappointing, but the impact of the pandemic is so unpredictable. If we got to the stage where we had everything set up and it couldn’t go ahead, it would be a big cost,” said Deanne.

“At the end of the day, we just couldn’t take the risk.”

With significant numbers of company representatives coming out of Melbourne and the defined metro area, staging the event this year became too problematic,
And, as restrictions continued to tighten in Greater Melbourne yesterday, it no doubt would have been an unavoidable decision to cancel.