BARLEY Saturday in Cardigan has been called off for a second successive year due to the coronavirus crisis.

The annual showcase event and parade of stallions through the town had been scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 24 but its cancellation will come as no surprise to many, with the roll-out of the vaccine coming too late to save this year’s event.

Barley Saturday secretary Tudor Harries: “We were going to leave the decision as late as possible but we feel we have no choice but to call it off now. It’s very sad but there is nothing we can do about it.

“We have held off for as long as we can but we thought around the turn of the year it was not going to happen. We had hoped for a dramatic change in the situation but we have no chance.

“I am going to contact the President and the judges to see if they will continue in 2022.

“It is such an important day for the town and I know the local businesses look froward to it. Hopefully, we will be back bigger and stronger than ever next year.”

The event was one of the first to be cancelled last year because of coronavirus.

It is believed Barley Saturday has its origins in the middle of the 19th century and served as a half-yearly hiring fair of farm servants and celebrated the end of the sowing season – barley was the final cereal sown.

It has been traditionally held on the last Saturday in April.

The event was disbanded during World War Two and appeared to have died a death.

But in 1961 a group of town business people decided to resurrect the event. They included incoming mayor and baker the late Ivor Radley.

During one of the early shows in the mid 1960’s then mayor and licensee of the former Ship Inn in the town centre Britt Griffiths joined the parade in his mayoral robes and sporting an outsize cigar.

For many years the show was at Penralltddu Field near the town’s junior school, but organisers were told that due to plans for the site the 2014 show would be the last.

With the cooperation of Cardigan Secondary governors and head-teacher Nicola Davies, the show was given a new home at the school playing field and has been held there ever since.

Over the years there have been many well-known people who have served as Barley Saturday President, including two years ago Grand National -winning jockey and a native of the town Hywel Davies – he won the big race on 50/1 outsider Last Suspect in 1985.