It has been the highlight of the community events calendar for more than four decades, but last week it became another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Serpentine Jarrahdale Lions Club announced that it had made the heartbreaking decision to cancel this year’s Jarrahdale Log Chop and Country Fair after being confronted with major challenges, including the loss of a major sponsor and difficulties fulfilling the stringent risk management and hygiene guidelines.
The free fair, which typically attracts more than 10,000 guests and features rides, stalls, agriculture displays and the annual axemen’s competition, has been running since 1977 and is the Lions Club’s primary fundraising event.
The axemen’s competition is a staple of the fair, attracting both international and national competitors.
Serpentine Jarrahdale Lions Club president Peter Savenye said the delay in confirmation regarding the fate of this year’s Perth Royal Show and stringent risk management guidelines, coupled with the time it takes for the event to be organised, meant the club was forced to make the difficult decision.
“Ultimately, the log chop was contingent on the Perth Royal show going ahead,” he said.
“That was only confirmed in the last fortnight.
“Planning this event typically takes 12 months, but that was on hold during COVID-19 due to the uncertainty.
“Then we had stringent risk management guidelines to comply with, as well as heightened hygiene practices, and we weren’t sure what that would mean for the event.
“We’re a small organisation and preparing the plans necessary for an event of this size would be very challenging.
“It was a really difficult decision, a very hard decision for the club.
“The bottom-line is that we had to quantify the risk and we wanted the fair to remain free.
“We have long-term stallholders and stakeholders and our fundraising will be impacted by this – it’s going to be very tough for us to fundraise.”
Overall, Mr Savenye said the community had been supportive and understanding of the club’s decision and the challenge now would be raising the funds necessary to support the community.
“There are people in this area facing significant hardship,” he said.
“We’re thinking of holding off on some of our donations until September, because we anticipate that there could be a greater need once the government subsidy ceases.”
Member for Darling Range Alyssa Hayden said she was devastated to learn that this year’s fair would not be going ahead and said she looked forward to it coming back bigger and better next year.