COVID restrictions force cancellation of one of Australia’s biggest and longest running gardening events.
For the first time in its 36-year history, the Queensland Garden Expo will not open the gates to 40,000-plus visitors in 2020, due to the ongoing uncertainty around the hosting of major events while adhering to COVID-19 restrictions.
Event Chairman, Peter Young said the Expo organising committee had no choice but to make the difficult decision to cancel the event given the unknown status of hosting mass gatherings in the coming months.
“The safety of our visitors and exhibitors has always been paramount to us,” Mr Young said.
Event Manager, Marion Beazley said when it became evident that they would be unable to host the event in mid-July, they were hopeful they could still host the 36th Queensland Garden Expo in the September school holidays.
“We have been working towards this date in recent months however, without certainty around the restrictions we would need to meet to ensure the safety of our visitors as well as potential border closures impacting on our attendance numbers, the risks of continuing with the event this year have become too great.
“It is therefore with great regret that we have had to cancel this year’s event.”
The Expo started with humble beginnings in 1985 but in recent years has consistently attracted crowds of over 40,000 to explore over 360 exhibitor displays and to hear from the who’s who of Australian gardening present on one of eight live stages throughout the Nambour Showgrounds.
It is estimated that the event generates more than $8 million in economic impact annually, largely thanks to over 65 per cent of attendees coming from outside the Sunshine Coast region.
“Our visitors not only come from our South East Queensland drive market but from across Queensland, Australia and New Zealand,” Ms Beazley said.
“We have built a reputation as one of Australia’s premier gardening events, particularly our speaker program which includes the likes of crowd-favourites Costa Georgiadis, Jerry Coleby-Williams, Paul West and Sophie Thomson from Gardening Australia.”
“Thankfully our loyal followers will not be left entirely high and dry this year as we are hosting an online event on the original Garden Expo dates, 10-12 July. The virtual Facebook event will feature some of our most popular speakers —including Costa and Sophie — who have all been incredibly supportive of the Queensland Garden Expo for many years and are still keen to connect with our fans in some way.”
“After this event we will focus all our attention on preparations to come back bigger and better next year, with event dates set for 9-11 July 2021. We thank everyone for their understanding and anyone with tickets for this year can either hold over their tickets to next year’s event or can request a refund.
“We don’t underestimate that our event makes a huge contribution to our local economy and we wish all our fantastic suppliers, sponsors and supporters all the best for the remainder of this challenging year.”
For more information on the virtual event, please visit the Queensland Garden Expo Facebook page.
<td> 2020 Queensland Garden Expo Virtual Event </td>
<td> Queensland Garden Expo Facebook page: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/qldhomegardenexpo/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">https://www.facebook.com/qldhomegardenexpo/</a> </td>
<td> Friday, 10 July to Sunday, 12 July 2020 – please check the Facebook event for the full program. </td>
<td> Highlights include Sophie Thomson, Costa Georgiadis, Phil Dudman, Claire Bickle, Anne Gibson and Jerry Coleby-Williams. </td>
<td> Free </td>
Queensland Garden Expo is proudly presented by Nursery and Garden Industry Qld and supported by: