THE biggest event in the year for Ludlow is off.

Ludlow Food Festival will not take place this year.

But it is hoped that some small-scale events may be possible at different venues around the town.

Held from Friday to Sunday, over the second week in September, the Food Festival has become the biggest event in the town’s calendar often attracting more than 20,000 visitors.

It has put Ludlow on the national and international food map and attracts visitors from all over the country as well as from abroad.

The cancellation comes as another blow to the economy of the town.

But the organisers say that whilst they had hoped that it might be able to take place in the grounds of Ludlow Castle as usual, there is too much uncertainty and it would likely prove difficult to have social distancing.

They say that the financial risk of committing now only to have to cancel the event would be too great.

A posting by the Food Festival made it clear that the decision had been made with reluctance.

‘We have been watching developments with the coronavirus pandemic very carefully since news first broke; taking early action to cancel the Spring Festival which was due to be held in May, and have postponed the Magnalonga to a date to be fixed.

‘We hoped against hope that September was far enough into the year for our main Festival to be able to go ahead.

‘Taking into consideration the lead in time to put on an event like this we cannot afford the initial outlay, only then to be unable to proceed, and we would not wish local producers, retailers and people in the wider local economy to believe that this major event was going on, only to have to pull the rug on them.

‘Unfortunately, we are unable to say with confidence, following the present government guidelines available to us,

that we can deliver a socially distance ‘safe’ event over the second weekend of September along our traditional lines;

and we cannot, as a community based event, put that community at any level of increased risk, and we won’t.’

However, plans are being made in the hope of possibly being able to mount a smaller dispersed event around the town in September.

It is also hoped that there can be some food related events before the next spring Food Festival scheduled for May 2021.