Despite the cancellation of the iconic Guyra Lamb and Potato Festival for a second year the event's committee has still had something to celebrate in 2022 - a new $130,000 all-weather pavilion.
The Guyra Lamb and Potato Festival received a State Government Community Building Partnership grant for the building in 2019 and last week Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall joined committee president Steve Mepham to officially open the new facility.
Guyra Lamb and Potato Festival President Steve Mepham said now more than ever the building was important in ensuring the financial viability of future festivals.
"With two consecutive cancellations due to COVID-19 the committee is conscious of making every dollar count as we look towards 2023," Mr Mepham said.
"We are incredibly proud of this facility which offers patrons a comfortable space to enjoy entertainment out of the sun or rain and will also slash $6,000 in marquee hire costs off our bill each year.
"Instead we will be able to put that money towards other improvements to our facilities, with planning underway on upgrading our old kitchen.
"Located behind the Big Lamb on the New England Highway, I think this all-weather shed is a really important community asset.
"I want to thank Adam for his congoing support of the festival and we look forward to it resuming next year and attracting people to our great little town."
Mr Marshall said while it's disappointing this year's festival was cancelled, due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, the passion of the committee and the new building would ensure it was back bigger and better in 2023.
"With this building complete - the Guyra Spud Shed - literally the only thing that can stop the Lamb and Potato Festival now is a pandemic," Mr Marshall said.
"Built to protect patrons from the volatile summer weather in Guyra, the committee has successfully delivered a diverse dining and performance space in the shape of this impressive 10 metre by 18 metre shed with lockable roller doors.
"With room for a stage and seating for 60 people the building will have a huge impact on ensuring visitors to the festival are able to take in all the sights and sounds of the event, even in inclement weather.
"Despite a number of planning set-backs and COVID-19 hold-ups, Steve and his committee have persevered in getting this project delivered - I congratulate them for that.
"I'm sure volunteers won't know themselves next year when they no longer have to spend a day putting up and pulling down marquees, but instead can put all their efforts into preparing the famous lamb and gravy rolls.
"This new facility will also be available to the community all year round, which I'm sure will be taken up by many local organisations."
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