The show won't go on
By JANELLE McLENNAN and ALEX EASTON THE Casino Show has been cancelled for the first time in 119 years because of the horse flu outbreak.
Casino Show Society president Doug Bennett said because the Casino Showground and Racecourse complex were in lock-down, members believed they had little alternative but to cancel the event, scheduled for October 13 and 14.
"We are going to lose a considerable amount of money as it is, but if we hadn't made the decision to abandon the show now, we stood to lose much more," he said.
Mr Bennett's comments came as other show societies vowed to press on regardless of the horse flu threat.
Greg Gordon, president of Far North Coast Group of Show Societies, said Casino's show was the only one in the region that shared its grounds with a horse racing track, making it the only one to be scrapped. Other shows would have to be altered or cut back because of the loss of horse events, but could not be cancelled.
"You can't cancel them, because it's not fair to the people who work hard on them," he said. "The show must go on."
Casino Society secretary Kathy Ivaschenko said the whole town would feel the cancellation.
"We get about 5000 through the gate, so it will affect the town," she said.
Casino Chamber of Commerce president Jannie Stevens agreed the loss of the show would hurt businesses, but because they'd never had a year without it, no one knew by how much.
Richmond Valley Council mayor Charlie Cox said the cancellation was a harsh blow to the town, particularly as it followed the cancellation of Beef Week.
The Casino Show Society considered postponing the show or moving it to another venue, but could do neither.
"We couldn't find an alternative venue," Ms Ivaschenko said. "And the way the show circuit works, we wouldn't have been able to get the people through the gate if we moved it to a later date."