THE coronavirus pandemic has claimed yet another victim in North Queensland, with the Julia Creek Dirt 'n Dust festival cancelled for 2021.
Festival president Nathan James-Laneyrie said the continued risk and uncertainty of COVID-19 had made running one of the biggest volunteer-run events in outback Queensland a challenge.
The festival, which was set to take place from April 16-18, attracts thousands of people from across Queensland and further afield, with the town's usual population of about 500 swelling six-fold.
The event's centrepiece, the triathlon, provides a unique outlet for some of the states best amateur athletes.
Others attend for the novelty events including the popular bog snorkelling and the cheeky Australia's Best Butts competition.
It is the second year the event has been cancelled, after organisers were forced to pull the pin on the event at the height of pandemic concerns in 2020, in what would have been the festival's 26th year.
It comes after organisers of the annual Charters Towers Goldfield Ashes cricket carnival, traditionally held over the Australia Day long weekend, were also forced to cancel this year's event as they could not meet COVID-safe requirements.
But folk wanting to experience the country hospitality can still attend the annual Julia Creek Artesian Express race day, which is set to proceed as usual on April 17.
Mr James-Laneyrie said the executive committee had spent time over the past couple of months talking with the council and local community who wish to get involved moving forward.
He said a newly appointed committee would look at reigniting and reinventing the community-owned event for the future.
"Whilst this is obviously very disappointing for those who were looking forward to this year's Dirt n Dust, it needs to be put in perspective against Australia's fight against the coronavirus, and the wide-ranging impacts of having a totally new committee appointed," Mr James-Laneyrie said.
He called on community members who wished get involved with the festival moving forward to put their hands up and get involved.