Gunnedah Show may not go ahead this year if it does not get the financial support it needs.
The show society said the drought had hit the annual event hard - fewer sponsors are coming on board but other costs are rising.
Now more than ever, society president Rob Witts says it is vital that the show goes ahead to bring the community together in tough times.
Salvation could come in the form of grants if the society is successful in its applications for funding through the state government and the Royal Agricultural Society.
The society has also met with and written to Gunnedah Shire Council to ask it to waive the $8000 showground hire fee.
Other costs include security, hiring of entertainment and stock, and insurance.
While they are trying to cut back where they can, Mr Witts said they still needed to offer a full program to make it worthwhile for locals to come.
He said they wouldn't increase entry fees because it would be "hurting the community and they wouldn't come".
Another hurdle is the dwindling number of helpers for set-up and pack-up.
Mr Witts said many society members were at the age where they just couldn't do the heavy lifting any more, so a small group had taken on the mammoth task the past few years.
"I actually believe that all of those who have been helping for years will actually turn up on the day ... [but] what we really need is an injection of young helpers," he said.
Mr Witts believes cancelling the show is not the answer because "it would make starting it again very difficult".
"The solution is getting people behind it," he said.
"How much people want the show is probably the thing."
Luckily, there's no shortage of ways locals can help.
Sponsorship can be as small as sponsoring the Lego competition, or as large as sponsoring headline acts.
The society is also looking for people to run kids' activities, and local talent such as buskers and dance groups.
Society member George Truman said the event was "no longer just an agricultural show" - it is "a meeting place" and "celebrates what Gunnedah is".
"It really is the main, key event in any town," he said.
Mr Witts echoed his words, saying the society "definitely wants to put the show on".
"We believe it's a very important yearly event and because the district has done it as hard as it has in the past one or two years, we need to put it on," he said.
The solution is getting people behind it.Rob Witts, Gunnedah Show Society
Mr Witts said the council had waived the hire fee twice before and the society was hopeful the council would do it again.
"We've been struggling for a long time ... obviously, the reason we are struggling is because of the difficulties that district has had," he said.
"The grounds are good and money is being injected into the facilities by the state and federal governments now. It would be a shame to see the facilities go to waste."
A council spokesperson said when the society's request is received, it would be put forward at an ordinary meeting.
"All of the fees and charges applicable to the showground contribute towards the maintenance and upkeep of those facilities," they said.
The spokesperson said the council was also urging community groups to apply for funding under the Community Resilience Program.
"[It] will fund approved projects in 2020 to stimulate the economy and help build Gunnedah shire's strength and resilience during adverse events like this drought," they said.
- Contact Gunnedah Show Society's Rob Witts on 0427 431 563.