Canterbury A&P Show organisers apply for $1m ratepayer loan over COVID-19 concerns

Organisers of the country's largest A&P Show are remaining cautious as COVID-19 remains a threat to big events. 

Canterbury A&P Society has applied for a $1 million loan from ratepayers in case coronavirus cancels the event for the second year running. 

In three months, a stockyard will once again be filled with the sounds of the show and the excitement of Cantabrians. 

That's as long as COVID-19 doesn't shut the gate like it did last year. 

"[It was] absolutely gutting for it to be cancelled. It was a real blow," operations manager Jonathan Carden-Holdstock says.

The November show was canned in May 2020 due to COVID-19 - the first time since World War II and only the fourth time in its 159-year history.

Association board director Steve Barry says the show is "part of the fabric of the community in Canterbury".

It attracts 100,000 people and draws a $200,000 profit but that doesn't outweigh the cost of COVID-19.

"It would be as much as three-quarters of a million dollars in terms of a financial loss in this year for the organisation," Barry says.

The threat of financial ruin has forced the association to apply to Christchurch City Council for a $1m loan.

"It's what we would call a standby loan, the loan would never be drawn upon unless the event was cancelled and it's all about ensuring we can meet the costs we would have incurred in that scenario," Barry says.

And in the face of uncertainty, it's also about future-proofing with 2022 already in sight. 

Carden-Holdstock says it requires "a lot of planning" over several months.

Months of work to uphold years of tradition - and memories.

The council will vote on Thursday on whether or not to guarantee the annual visit when the country comes to town.