Rumours have flown over the weekend that Kyneton is set to lose its highly successful Lost Trades Fair to Ballarat, following an anonymous post making the claim to the local Facebook page ‘Mollison Street’.
Fair founders Lisa and Glen Rundell confirmed to the Midland Express that while no final decision had been made, the fair had outgrown its location at the Kyneton Racecourse.
“Over the past couple of years we have realised that the location was stretched to capacity and this year ticketing had to be capped to ensure that the audience could see the artisans that the fair was established to support and promote,” Ms Rundell said.
“To ensure continued growth of the Lost Trades Fair while maintaining the event’s integrity, we simple need a bigger space.
“We require a region with more event space, more accommodation, more food venues and services to cater for the thousands of visitors that the event attracts over one weekend.”
In an official statement, major sponsor Visit Victoria said the Lost Trades Fair was “a great regional event that would remain in regional Victoria”.
“Hosting negotiations regarding the future of the event remain commercial-in-confidence and are not yet finalised,” they said.
Ms Rundell said that since its inception six years ago, the fair had grown year on year to become one of the country’s largest artisan-led events on the Australian calendar.
“There have been three Lost Trades Fairs in Toowoomba QLD and the first Lost Trades Fair NSW will run in Hawkesbury in October,” she said.
“The fair has grown to attract international artisans from the UK and the USA, who fly in for the event, as well as the finest craftsmen and women from across Australia.
“Visitor numbers this year had to be reduced by nearly 5000 people and this is not great for tourism – or any of the artisans who travel so far to be a part of this event.
“When the region and in fact the town that the fair runs in is at capacity over the entire weekend – the event cannot grow.”
Ms Rundell said this had been the case in 2018 and again in 2019.
“We have spend the past two years looking at alternative locations and other ways to run the event in this region,” she said.
“Due to many reasons we have had to look outside the region for the event to grow.
“We want it to support regional Victoria, but we also want to be able to let the many artisans that are on wait-lists to be part of the event – have a place at the fair – and allow the thousands of people we personally turned away from the fair in March due to capped ticketing, to be able to visit the event, meet the makers and support them.
“We have not decided on dates or in fact exact location for 2020, but can confirm that the event will move to Ballarat with the support of the artisans, event team and everyone involved in the fair.”