Greymouth ecstatic to double Agfest attendance after Christchurch show cancelled

Many Cantabrians celebrated their public holiday today on the other side of the South Island after the region's major A&P show was cancelled for the first time since World War II.

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Organisers assembled a farm in the city instead after opting to cancel the main show due to Covid-19. Source: 1 NEWS

While organisers assembled a farm in the city instead, it was a West Coast event that cashed in on Canterbury's day off.

Greymouth’s Agfest welcomed 25,000 people through the gates this year after the show in Christchurch was scrapped due to Covid-19.

Agfest event manager Tracey Anderson says a high number of Cantabrians attended.

“We believe we've got a pretty big chunk of that crowd - they did have to make that three-hour trip across to Greymouth to get to our event but everyone we are seeing here today - which should have been Canterbury Show Day - are Cantabrians. We're expecting our locals tomorrow,” she says.

More than twice the usual crowd turned up, injecting an estimated $5 million into the local economy in just two days.

Greymouth Mayor Tania Gibson says the town needed the boost.

“Our businesses really needed it with Covid. Now our retail, our accommodation, it's pumping at the moment and it's great to see all the no-vacancy signs,” she says.

Agfest was rescheduled after lockdown in March - organisers pouncing on Canterbury Anniversary Day after the Christchurch show also fell victim to the virus.

Instead, an impressive pop-up farm has been assembled in the city. And while it won’t attract crowds in the tens of thousands, it’s still a chance for the public to enjoy a taste of farming life.

“It's really cool that we're still doing something for the community - it's nice for kids still being hands on even though cup and show week and the show isn’t happening this year,” volunteer Megan Coster says.