Agricultural shows across the south-west are stuck in limbo over whether to go ahead this year in the wake of the Royal Melbourne Show's decision to pull the pin.
Many south-west show committees are set to meet over the next week to weigh up their options.
The uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic made it hard to lock in entertainment, and with businesses hit hard by restrictions shows organisers are reluctant to approach them for help.
Koroit Show secretary Julie Houlihan said that if their November show did go ahead it may be just a low-key event.
"We've got to make a call closer to the time," she said.
"We're in limbo at the moment."
Mrs Houlihan said organisers would be guided by government regulations about how many people would be allowed to gather and if restrictions were lifted it would probably go ahead.
"We're in no man's land," she said.
She said she was concerned people might not have the money to be out and about at shows.
While Koroit had the finances to "ride it out" and run a small show, Mrs Houlihan predicted many smaller shows would be forced to cancel and probably wouldn't be able to then come back. Only shows with backing would survive, she said.
Mrs Houlihan said it wasn't just show organisers that were in limbo, but horse riders too.
She said riders usually got their horses ready for the Melbourne Show, and with that now gone some will be rethinking whether it was worth putting in months of work and expense for shows that may be cancelled last-minute.
The Australian Agricultural Society has sought federal government funding to help shows.
Noorat Show committee member John Pekin said a decision on its show would be made next Monday, but with the event not scheduled to run until November they could probably afford to wait before they had to decide.
Warrnambool Show president Jason Callaway said organisers would meet next week to make a decision about the future of this year's show.
Port Fairy show secretary Anita Watts said the committee would meet this weekend to decide whether the event would go ahead or if they chose to just run a horse event.
"It's a hard decision," she said.
"It's all up in the air.
"All the little shows are in the same boat.
And with businesses doing it tough during the pandemic closures and restrictions, she said the organisers wouldn't be able to ask them to contribute to the cost of running the show like they normally would.
"It's just not fair to ask businesses to help," she said.
"Melbourne show's gone and it's only five weeks before ours.
"We might just have to wipe 2020 off the calendar."
She said with more than 1000 people through the gate during the show, she was concerned how they would police numbers if restrictions on larger events were still in place.
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