POSTPONED: Lockyer Valley Billy Cart Association has postponed the inaugural derby. Picture: Dominic Elsome
POSTPONED: Lockyer Valley Billy Cart Association has postponed the inaugural derby. Picture: Dominic Elsome

CANCELLED, CLOSED, POSTPONED: Lockyer, Somerset events

IN THE midst of uncertain times, numerous events worldwide are being shut down and postponed, including a number in the Lockyer Valley and Somerset regions.

Grower Barbecue

Their first Grower Barbecue for the year was set to take place tonight but now the Lockyer Valley Growers Inc is another group forced to shut down an event. 

Lockyer Valley Growers Inc President Michael Sippel said the event would be postponed.

"It is with great regret that we are postponing this event due to factors related to the spread of the Corona Virus," Mr Sippel said. 

"Some of the speakers who were due to present at the barbecue are not able to attend and we feel it is in the best interest for all involved if we postpone the event."

A future date for the barbecue has not been set at this point.

Candidate forums 

In the lead up to the local election, the Lockyer Valley Toastmasters Club scheduled two candidate forums this week and next week - both of which have been canned. 

The events promised to give voters the chance to question candidates before voting but, due to coronavirus fears, have been called off. 

The forums were set to take place on March 19 at the Laidley Cultural Centre and March 25, at the Gatton Shire Hall.

Laidley Cup

The Laidley Cup is another event feeling the effects of the health climate.

The Lockyer Valley Turf Club announced the cup, which was set to take place on Saturday, March 21, will no longer be open to the public.  

In a statement, the club said it had made the decision in response to government advice, as a crowd of more than 1500 was expected to attend.

Racing will still go ahead but only racing participants will be allowed to enter the track on the day.

"It is extremely disappointing not only for the club but for businesses around the Valley who were involved with catering, FOTF, the band, bar and betting and staff that will now miss out on wages for the day," the club said.

Billy Cart Derby

ONLY months after the inaugural event was locked in, Gatton's very first Lockyer Valley Billy Cart Derby has been postponed by organisers.

Scheduled for April and set to take place at Lake Apex, the event had promised to give racers the opportunity to compete in a number of categories and age groups, including a section just for politicians.

Lockyer Valley Billy Cart Association secretary Allan Willson told the Gatton Star the committee made the decision to postpone the event due to the COVID-19 virus.

"The committee knows the health and wellbeing of our community should and must come first," Mr Willson said.

"As the virus has now been known to mutate during large community events, the risk of spreading outweighs the opportunity in which to proceed to have a successful derby."

The billy cart derby has been postponed until September, to take place on September 6 or 13.

Good Friday Service on the Hill

COLEYVILLE'S iconic Easter event is another community gathering which has fallen victim to the coronavirus.

In its 23rd year and normally drawing hundreds of guests to a hillside marquee, the Good Friday service has been called off by the organisers.

Founding committee member Norm Kerle said the decision was made "with much sadness and regret".

He said the decision came after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced all non-essential events attracting more than 500 people be cancelled until the end of the coronavirus.

"We have decided for the welfare of all involved this event should be also cancelled," Mr Kerle said.

"We thank all those who have supported this Service in the past and look forward to seeing you all again next year."

Mr Kerle said the three iconic glowing crosses would still be erected on the hill.

"(They) will be lit up in all their glory at night during Holy Week," he said.

Spirit of the Valley events

A NUMBER of Spirit of the Valley's iconic events, including its Multicultural Festival and NAIDOC week, are in a state of limbo as the organisers try to plan for the future.

Event co-ordinator and Spirit of the Valley Inc President Idell Wadley said the fate of the events lay "under a cloud", amid COVID-19 fears.

Two of the larger events are especially under threat, after a major sponsor asked for the events to be held for a later date.

"They've asked that we postpone the Multicultural Festival and NAIDOC," Ms Wadley said.

"We're still 10 weeks away but they're our major sponsors and we have to respect that."

The Multicultural Festival, having been set for Sunday, May 24, features arts, performances and cuisine from all corners of the globe.

Ms Wadley said the committee was considering replacing the event with an outdoor market - featuring all the usual vendors.

"The issue with a festival is that sections of it are static with people sitting for a length of time watching performances," she said.

"An outdoor market is lower risk because people are passing through."

At this stage, NAIDOC (July 2) may be postponed and the Multicultural Festival (May 24) will be postponed or replaced.

"We're considering alternatives at this stage and haven't abandoned hope," Ms Wadley said.

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