Cherry Chaos called off over staff issues

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The pin has been pulled on Roxburgh’s Cherry Chaos for 2021.

Organisers said in a statement it was better to make the decision to cancel early than run a less-than successful event in January, given predicted labour shortages.

The event is touted as a celebration of all things cherry and an opportunity to let off steam and have some fun with pickers and packers from across the world at the height of the cherry harvest.

Cherry Chaos committee chairwoman Barbara Withington said the event had provided entertainment for several years for the many fruit pickers who usually made the Teviot Valley home for the summer season.

‘‘However, with the uncertainty of just where those workers are coming from this season, the committee has faced the prospect of trying to run an event without enough teams to make it viable. We have given it a lot of soulsearching thought over the past few weeks and have come to the conclusion that orchardists will have enough on their minds without getting behind this event.’’

Ms Withington said the event relied on orchardists encouraging their workers to take part and let them off work in time to join in.

‘‘Even though it is a late in the afternoon start, this season may see very different work hours as they struggle to harvest what looks like a very good crop.’’

Although the event also incorporates a cooking competition, cherry-spitting and horizontal bungee, these are additions to the main event and not enough to make it a success, she said.

The committee thanked the efforts of co-ordinator Martin McPherson in helping expand the event over recent years, and the support of sponsors and participants, and looked forward to the event being back in 2022.