James Findlay showing off his bush timber skills in the type of display that has been a feature of the Chiltern Ironbark Festival. This year’s festival has been cancelled but it will return next year.CHILTERN’S biggest festival won’t be held this year after participants rejected a move to change its dates.

The Chiltern Ironbark Festival was to be held this weekend but organisers were forced to cancel because stallholders spurned the shift from its traditional timing on the third weekend of October.

Organiser Kevin Mayhew, who is the president of Chiltern Tourism Development, said a clash with other activities had influenced the response.

“It’s one of those events which had been experiencing declining numbers and we decided to give a new weekend a try,” Mr Mayhew said.

“However the feedback from stallholders and exhibitors was that the new weekend doesn’t fit in with their plans.

“So rather than run with it and risk it being an inferior product we’ve decided to run it next year and take it back to the original weekend.”

Mr Mayhew said if the festival had proceeded there was the prospect of only 15 or 20 participating stallholders, compared to the usual 50.

He said bringing the date forward had been influenced by the Ironbark Festival clashing with Albury’s Applause Festival and the Rutherglen Show.

“While we realise we attract a different support base we were keen to expand that further but the people who provide the services to us decided it should remain on that weekend and we’re happy to do that, we’re flexible,” Mr Mayhew said.

Mr Mayhew said the event would revert to its usual one-day format next October but he hoped to have a three-day festival in 2014.

The skate championships which were to coincide with the festival tonight will still be held from 6pm at the bowl near Alliance Street.

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