A&P Show a no go
The Poverty Bay A&P Association has made the tough call to cancel the 2021 Spring Show due to uncertainties around gathering numbers under Alert Level 2.
It will be the first time since 1891 the annual town and country get-together has had to be cancelled.
The A&P committee last week agreed to wait for the September 20 announcement by the Government on Monday around Covid Delta alert levels before making a decision.
“Unfortunately, due to the majority of New Zealand remaining at Level 2 for another two weeks, we have been forced to cancel the 2021 A&P Show planned for October 15 and 16,” the Show association said in a statement this morning.
A&P association president Alaister Gray said it was an extremely tough decision.
“The whole executive were involved in making the decision last night.
“Everyone was of the opinion that it was too risky to attempt to run the Show under the current alert level circumstances,” Mr Gray said.
“We need to be at Level 1 to guarantee the safety of the public during the event and to protect the brand of the association.”
The first Poverty Bay A&P Show was held in 1875 and ran consecutively until 1885.
The next Show was held in 1891 and the annual town and country get-togethers have been held every year since.
“Knowing these facts made our decision last night even harder, however, it was out of our control,” Mr Gray said.
“We have to respect the Government-driven decisions around the Covid restrictions so the decision has been taken out of our hands.
“We would like to thank the community and businesses for the ongoing support and we will come back bigger and stronger with a Spring Show in 2022.”
John Mahon, of Mahon Amusements, which provides the sideshow attractions, said the decision was “disappointing to hear but totally understandable”.
“I would think it was a very hard decision for the Show executive to make,” he said.
“We cannot run our own business when we're limited to crowds of a hundred, which seems illogical when you're allowed 100 inside but no more outside.”
The Mahon family have been coming to the Gisborne show since 1946.
“Like a lot of businesses in the current Covid situation we will adapt to all these curve balls and try to find a way through it,” he said.
“As far as the other spring shows around the country are concerned, a lot depends on the Government's next alert levels announcement on October 4.”
Dog trials commentator Ross Buscke, said it was a “bit of a blow. But we cannot do much about it”.
“Hawke's Bay closed their Show last year and we were lucky enough to keep going, and it turned out to be a good Show,” Mr Buscke said.
“The way Covid has been this year, everyone's more on edge about it and the association had to make that tough decision.”
Paul Kirkpatrick, from Silver Ferns Farms, was looking forward to running the Steak of Station competition again.
“It's the right decision to cancel the Show given what the country's going through at the moment.”
Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz said she was saddened by the news.
“I am sure everyone will feel the same way. Our community loves the A&P Show.
“It is understandable that the committee had to balance the very real risk that Covid level changes pose now and into the future. It would not have been an easy decision.”