Agfest 2020 has not been cancelled - well, at least not totally.
The state's premier agricultural festival was announced last month as the latest event casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, on Wednesday, Rural Youth Tasmania announced a new way that Agfest will permeate our isolated lives.
Agfest 2020 will be moved to a virtual cloud program that will allow stallholders and exhibitors to showcase their Agfest specials and wares that they would have had for the three-day event.
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A $65,000 grant will be provided by the state government to facilitate the development of the online Agfest portal that will showcase Tasmania's high-quality merchandise to the world.
Agfest chairman Ethan Williams said the project was a huge undertaking and one that would hopefully make a real difference to local businesses and the Tasmanian economy.
"We know many of our highly-valued exhibitors had already purchased stock, booked accommodation and flights, engaged extra staff and spent considerable money on signage and design for their stands. And many of these companies heavily rely on revenue from the event as they head into the quieter winter months," Mr Williams said.
Rural Youth and the Agfest committee have been appreciative of the high levels of support and understanding demonstrated by the stallholders during this unprecedented step, and as such, the group decided they wanted to do something to support these businesses.
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Agfest injects more than $20 million a year into the state's economy and is one of the largest agricultural festivals in the country.
The event is run by a group of young rural Tasmanians who volunteer their time and manage not only all aspects of the event but also the infrastructure at Carrick.
The cloud program is expected to host deals on a wide range of product from tractors and towels, to sheds and swimming pools, woollen socks and water tanks and chemicals and caravans.
Rural Youth state president Jake Williams encouraged all members of the Agfest family to use the cloud platform to promote their deals and online shops, as well as encouraged all Tasmanians to jump online to "shop their hearts out".
"This is a great opportunity to buy local and support our businesses so that they can continue to employ our community members and be in the best possible position post-COVID-19," Mr Williams said.
Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett said the state government was proud to partner with Rural Youth to develop this opportunity.
"Agfest is one of the key parts of Tasmania's rural calendar and a significant contributor to our economy, and this is a good outcome that will provide a much-needed boost for exhibitors during the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
"Well done to the Rural Youth Organisation of Tasmania for their innovative thinking and commitment to Agfest that will give our retailers the chance to showcase their products for 2020."
Agfest online will be launched on May 7, which would have been the first day of the physical event in 2020 and instead of being available for three days, the deals will be available for three weeks.
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