The Man From Snowy River Bush Festival could have been plunged into doubt if the event was cancelled for a second time by COVID-19.
The stunning revelation was made by festival chairman Cameron Jackson, who said the event had to return due to the amount of unsold merchandise from the event being called off 12 months ago and the equipment damaged in the 2019-20 Upper Murray bushfires.
The festival had more than $400,000 worth of equipment lost when the fire destroyed a storage facility at the rear of the Corryong Recreation Reserve.
Priceless memorabilia from the event's 25-year history also went up in flames.
"If we couldn't run this year we would be in the red in a big way," Mr Jackson said.
"We had more than $150,000 worth of merchandise bought before last year's festival and we had to cancel three weeks out.
"Don't forget we've had to completely rebuild our compound and all our equipment we had to buy.
"The recreation reserve stopped the fire, but unfortunately we lost every sign, bunting, star pickets, you name it."
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Mr Jackson said the festival had received some significant donations to replace equipment such as signage, bunting and star pickets, but the committee had to cover a shortfall.
"For the festival to survive we had to run this year," he said.
"Otherwise I don't know what we would have done."
Temperature testing of spectators entering the reserve also took place each day.
There were more than 300 volunteers required to stage the event with a thank-you dinner held last night.
Mr Jackson also paid tribute to the festival's loyal followers who missed out last year.
"The competitors have loved being back, the crowd has loved being back and the committee is happy with how everything has gone," he said.
"For the festival to survive we had to run this year.
"Otherwise I don't know what we would have done.
"A lot of the people you see here come year on year, but this year we've seen a lot more families attend."
Helen Euman, who grew up at nearby Biggara and lives on the Gippsland Lakes, was among the army of volunteers helping out over the weekend.
"It's fantastic the festival has been able to go ahead," she said.
"It has been a rough time for the locals.
"It's great to see a lot of city people and those from other parts of Australia coming to places like Corryong because they still can't go overseas at the moment.
"The other good thing is they are spending money in the town."
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