FAIR IS OVER: Costa Georgiadis talks to punters at last year’s Country Fair at Summerland House Farm, Alstonville.
FAIR IS OVER: Costa Georgiadis talks to punters at last year’s Country Fair at Summerland House Farm, Alstonville. Marc Stapelberg

Ballina's Country Fair cancelled under financial pressure

ANOTHER major event in the Ballina Shire has been scrapped - the popular Country Fair, at Alstonville's Summerland House Farm, will not be held this year.

Last year's event attracted more than 15,000 people.

After the fair in September last year, the organisation's general manger, Brett Lacey, told The Northern Star they "couldn't have asked for more".

"I was absolutely rapt that the community has got behind the day, and come out to show their support," he said at the time.

But Summerland House Farm has sent a letter to sponsors to advise this year's event, which was also scheduled for September, would not be held.

In the letter, business marketing manager Lisa Murphy said this year's fair would "pose a financial risk to our organisation".

"The current climate and potential lack of community dollars to sponsor, the increasing costs of creating a quality event and the lack of volunteers to assist this year, were all factors carefully considered in the decision to cancel," she wrote.

It comes after the announce- ment the Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival had also been wound up.

The organiser of that event, Carol Stacey, said financial pressures had led to the "sad and disappointing" decision.

Summerland House Farm is part of the House with No Steps, a not-for-profit organisation creating employment opportunities for people with a disability.

"The Country Fair was developed to not only raise awareness of the organisation but also to raise much needed funding to continue to create opportunities for those we represent in the local community," Ms Murphy wrote in her letter.

"We have thoroughly enjoyed the Country Fair over the last four years and believe that it provided great community social inclusion for our employees and service users, as well as a quality, memorable event for our community.

"Summerland House Farm plans to organise smaller family events throughout the year which do not pose a high risk to the organisation and will not require the high set-up costs of the Country Fair."



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