The 2021 Nowra Show will go ahead, as long as NSW's COVID-19 status remains the same, although there will be some changes and restrictions, including a cap on numbers and for the first time ever, the implementation of electronic tickets.
Speaking at the Nowra Show Society's luncheon to mark National Ag Day, president Mark Stewart said the committee's planning for the 2021 show was "continuing in full swing".
"At this stage we are looking for our show to go ahead," he said. "Although there will have to be some changes to meet COVID regulations.
"And, of course, it is also all dependent on NSW's efforts in combating the virus and cases remaining zero or very low.
"We have to work towards having a show."
One of the restrictions put in place was crowd numbers being capped at 5000, with Mr Stewart saying it is understood that number would exclude volunteers.
"And tickets will have to be sold electronically prior to the event," he said.
"That will be a major change for us - you just won't be able to rock up and get a ticket to go to the show.
Crowd numbers being capped at 5000, and for the first time ever tickets will have to be sold electronically prior to the event.Nowra Show Society president Mark Stewart
"It will have to be pre-purchased."
Mr Stewart said at this stage it is planned to hold the rodeo on Friday evening and the popular demolition derby on Saturday night.
"We are planning to go ahead but that is a day to day proposition," he said.
"It's all dependent on NSW continuing to do the right things and record no or very low COVID numbers.
"We will have a number of safety requirements we will have to meet according to NSW Health regulations.
"That includes having a certain number of COVID marshals.
"It would be great to see the show go ahead, after the year everyone has had, firstly getting over last year's horrendous bushfires, the floods and then COVID I think it would be great for the community to be able to celebrate something.
"Of course, that has to be done safely."
He said every show is a chance to "again showcase Shoalhaven agriculture and industry".
"There are ways of managing such events and that's what we continue to work with NSW Health over, so we can run our 145th Nowra Show."
He said it would be the first time ever the Nowra Show Society would move into pre-purchased electronic ticketing.
"It was probably something, we as a committee, were looking towards," he said.
"I know I've wanted to make such a move and I suppose COVID has just hastened that change.
We want to give the community something to do - but we have to be able to do it safely and the community needs to work with us as well.Nowra Show Society president Mark Stewart
"I'm hoping with the new ticketing system, which is limited to the 5000, that we will sell the show out.
"It will be a case of if you want to go you will have to pre-purchase a ticket."
Nowra Show usually has a gate entry of between 5000-10,000.
"We also have to adapt ways to ensure a seamless transition, while also being able to do things like contact tracing, which is so critical," Mr Stewart said.
"We also want to make sure there are not things like long lines waiting to get in. Social distancing once inside the showground is also an issue but we believe the community is pretty aware of their requirements and hope they continue to adhere to those requirements which are now, and should be, every day habits.
"It's the same as the need to washing your hands thoroughly and regularly.
"We will also have to adhere to other regulations like regular cleaning of areas like toilets etc.
"If we all do the little things right and do everything we are suppose to do, life as we know it might slowly get back to something like normal."
He said it must also be remembered that the committee putting on the show are all volunteers.
"We will wait and see what the guidelines are and if we as a committee can tick all the boxes required we will go ahead," he said.
No one really knows what the future will bring - NSW is doing a great job at the moment combating coronavirus and we have to continue that for events such as shows to be able to go head.Nowra Show Society president Mark Stewart
"We want to be able to provide a similar community based-event again - giving the community something to do - but we have to be able to do it safely and the community needs to work with us as well.
"Like many other events, we also don't want to possibly expose the area to COVID.
"No body wants that tag of having brought COVID to town.
"We know already the South Coast and Shoalhaven in particular, is a popular destination - possibly one of the best places in the country, even the world - and why wouldn't you want to come here?
"And we want to be able to again support our community that has faced so much from drought, bush fires, floods and now COVID."
He said it was exciting to see the show planning going ahead, but at the same time has to look at how the society does things.
"That's what we are aiming to do," he said.
"Our show does bring a lot of people to town. We will look at what events we can safely stage and then decide what other events will will also add.
"It might mean some events might only be held on one day to try and alleviate any possible issues.
"No one really knows what the future will bring - NSW is doing a great job at the moment combating coronavirus and we have to continue that for events such as shows to be able to go head.
"Luckily at this stage the management plans seem to be working but everyone just needs to adhere to those guidelines and continue to work on combating the virus and listening too and acting on the advice to hand."
Mr Stewart also spoke about the society's success in gaining state government funding for rural shows and by working with Shoalhaven City Council would see major improvements to the cattle area of the showground precinct, allow further work on the main arena, long awaited upgrades to lighting in the woodchop area and poultry pavilion, and new air conditioning throughout the pavilion.
The 145th Nowra Show 2021 is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, February 5-6. Information on ticket sales is expected to be released shortly.
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