Melon Fest’s cancellation could be costly for our economy
CHINCHILLA'S Chamber of Commerce and Industry has discussed the detrimental flow on affect the cancellation of Melon Fest will have on the Western Downs.
The world's largest watermelon festival was sadly cancelled today, citing concerns over the prohibition on public mass gatherings, travel restrictions, and venue capacity challenges.
Chamber president Shannon McDermott said there will be a huge impact on the region's economy due to the event's cancellation.
"There's an excess of 14,000 coming every two years, and not having those sort of numbers over a weekend is going to have a significant impact on the spend on accommodation," he said.
"Running any type of event now is going to be difficult, as you have to deal with the big unknown of COVID-19, with things constantly changing.
"Especially with a volunteer run event, and the planning effort that goes into it, only to be cancelled close to the final hour."
Mr McDermott believed there'll be dozens of other businesses that will now become affected by the festival's decision to cancel 2021's event.
"Food outlets are going to be affected, accommodation, and even camping grounds, not just in Chinchilla but around the region," he said.
"A lot of people stay in Dalby and surrounding towns, as 14,000 people is something Chinchilla would struggle to cope with.
"The show societies put up a heap of campers every two years and they do quite well too."
Even not-for-profit organisations such as the Chinchilla Lions, APEX, the polocrosse club, and more will be missing out on revenue according to Mr McDermott.
"It's going to be a tough time as a lot of organisations rely on the festival to generate revenue for them," he said.