Organisers of the Southport Flower Show, which attracts 55,000 people, say uncertainty over COVID-19 restrictions later in the summer means it cannot go ahead. Tony McDonough reports
Southport Flower Show is being cancelled for the second year in a row despite it being likely most COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted in time for the event
This year’s show, which can bring more than 55,000 people to Southport across four days, was due to take place from August 19 to 22. However, organisers say because of the uncertainty over what COVID measures may still be in place, they cannot go ahead.
Chair of the Southport Flower Show board, Max Steinberg, said: “We have closely monitored the situation over the past few months, and it has become clear that due to the uncertainty of the pandemic we have no other option but to cancel the show for a second successive year.
“Despite the easing of lockdown measures and the progressive vaccination programme, there are still too many elements that remain uncertain. The date of June 21 is the earliest the final restrictions could be lifted and that date may be extended.
“If we were to go ahead and for whatever reason the show had to be cancelled at the last minute, it would have severe financial implications for the charity.”
Mr Steinberg added the board of trustees of the charity that runs the show in Victoria Park agreed that it was better to protect its long-term survival by planning for 2022. He added: “We know what the Show means to Southport, the North West Region, exhibitors, competitors, sponsors, stewards, staff, volunteers, and our loyal visitors.
“We have not taken this decision lightly and we will return in 2022 with our best show ever.”
First held in 1924, the Southport Flower Show is the largest independent flower show in the UK. It has attracted people and celebrities from all over the world and also features cookery demonstrations, music and horse riding displays. Its cancellation will be a blow to Southport’s visitor economy, already reeling from the impact of the pandemic.
Alan Adams, general manager of Southport Flower Show and Victoria Park Events, added: “This was a very difficult decision to make and the fragility of the Government’s Roadmap, alongside the uncertainty over holding large events this summer, made planning for the 2021 Show untenable.”
“The first consideration must be the health and wellbeing of everyone involved in the show and how we keep our visitors safe. The show has become a much-loved fixture in the horticultural calendar and in the region’s summer events program attracting over 55,000 visitors.
“The decision to cancel for a second year has been taken with an extremely heavy heart but we believe this to be the only course of action as we continue to work through these unprecedented times, and I would like to ask everyone for their support.”
The organisers have asked if people who have already purchased tickets for the 2021 show would consider supporting the show by rolling over their tickets to next year’s show taking place August 18 to 21, 2022.