The Royal Isle of Wight County Show has, for the second year running, been cancelled due to uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic.
The annual summer show, which usually takes place at Northwood Showground, was cancelled in 2020 as a result of COVID-19.
Despite restrictions being lifted on 21st June, organisers say they don’t wish to take the risk of months of hard work being wasted.
Everyone’s health and welfare is the primary consideration, they say.
Graham Bliss, Chairman of the Royal Isle of Wight County Show has said:
“In view of the continuing absence of clarity about how events will be allowed to operate this year, not expected until the middle of June at the earliest, your County Show committee have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Royal Isle of Wight County Show.
“We very much regret the need to make this decision because we know our members were looking forward to the show, and the importance of the show to local businesses. I can assure you that this was not an easy decision and one we would have preferred not to have to take. Everyone’s health and welfare was the primary consideration.
“The planning cycle for the show means it was important to make a timely decision. Another factor in our decision was the concern that we may not be able to hold a show which we could all be proud to be associated with.
However, it is hoped that Open Air Markets will be able to go ahead – like in 2020.
“Based upon last year’s model we do hope it will be possible to repeat the Open Air Markets. As and when the way forward becomes clearer we may also look to arrange a “Country Fair” event at the County Showground. We are keen to try to support our traders and partners as much as we can.
“We are keen that the Showground be used as much as possible therefore if you know of anyone interested in using the Showground, please ask them to get in touch.
“Twelve months ago I would have expressed a commitment to bring the show back this year with vigour and commitment and this must now carry forward to 2022.
“If you would like to discuss this decision or anything about the show please do not hesitate to make contact.”
Responding to the cancellation, Country Land and Business Association (CLA) South East Regional Director Michael Valenzia has said:
“The Royal Isle of Wight County Show is a flagship event in the Island’s agricultural calendar and to hear that it won’t go ahead this summer as planned is sad, but entirely understandable given the current uncertainty regarding events and potential Covid-19 related restrictions. The health and safety of everyone involved must come first.
“Many rural businesses rely on the show as an opportunity to demonstrate their fantastic products and services to thousands of people.
“The CLA is supporting its members, who are a range of farmers, landowners and rural businesses, through this difficult time with the latest advice and information regarding coronavirus. We are also holding regular calls with government officials and lobbying on issues the industry needs to be reviewed to support them through these uncertain times.
“The rural sector is exceptionally resilient however, having faced more than its share of adversity in the past. I have every confidence the Royal Isle of Wight County Show will bounce back and we can’t wait to be part of it once again in 2022.”