Back to the paddock for Agfest in 2021

Organisers have devised a well-thought out plan

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Agfest will run for four days, not three

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Agfest organisers have announced plans to return to an event at Quercus Park next year.

COVID-19 forced the committee into running a virtual event this year but chairman Ethan Williams said they have devised an "innovative model to deliver large-scale events in a safe and compliant manner".

He said they have finalised a blueprint for the 96-hectare Quercus Park site to ensure it complies with Tasmanian health regulations and social distancing requirements.

Agfest 2021 will be run over four days on May 5-8 - not the traditional three days - with restrictions on daily patron numbers, additional entry and exit points, pre-sold online tickets to enable contact tracing, changes in exhibitor locations to reduce known crowd hot spots, and additional requirements for cleaning, hand sanitising and traffic flow monitoring are just some of the new compliance measures to be implemented.

Mr Williams said extensive modelling had revealed that increasing social distancing to four square metres per person would equate to 42,000 patrons per day.

However, the Agfest Committee has agreed it will take further direction from the Tasmanian government regarding guidelines for mass gatherings before announcing maximum daily patron numbers.

The goal is to achieve 60,000 patrons through the gates across the event.

"Agfest understands that we are working in a very dynamic environment and if our borders reopen or COVID-19 community transmission is evident in the State, we may have to further modify our planned operational model for 2021," Mr Williams said.

"However, we are a determined bunch of passionate young Tasmanians and we have decided to have a crack at organising Agfest 2021 back in the paddock because at the end of the day, that's what we do best.

"There is no doubt that if we are forced to cancel the event at Quercus, we will be shattered.

"However, at this point, we are completely focused on delivering this mammoth event for Tasmania to stimulate the State's economy and enable our exhibitors to generate much-needed leads and sales, as well as the community to learn and immerse themselves in all things agriculture."

If Agfest in the Paddock has to be cancelled, Agfest in the Cloud will be extended from 5-15 May, ensuring the event opens as planned regardless of its location.

The additional key changes planned for 2021 are:

  • The event will run in the paddock for four days, instead of three, from 5 -8 May;
  • All tickets will be pre-sold online to enable contact tracing;
  • Hand sanitiser stations will be positioned around the site;
  • Exhibitors will be required to develop their own COVID-19 Safety Plans and control visitor numbers to their stands at all times;
  • The Craft Market will be moved from the large sheds to a new area to encourage safer traffic flow; and
  • A new strategy involving the dispersal of food vendors to different areas around the site has been developed to further minimise crowd congestion at peak eating times.

A new Agfest website is also being launched today at www.agfest.com.au with online exhibitor applications open on 1 October.

Successful exhibitor applicants will be notified by the end of January and online ticket sales will be launched on 1 February.

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The story Back to the paddock for Agfest in 2021 first appeared on The Examiner.

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