VICTORIA -- A popular beachside event in Parksville has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year's Parksville Beach Festival, which regularly includes a world-renowned sand-sculpting competition and exhibit, will not take place due to health restrictions related to gatherings and events.

While the annual festival does not take place until the summer, event organizers say it takes month of planning to prepare, especially since some visitors and participants need to travel internationally.

“Event planning begins well in advance and the rules around travel, gatherings and social distancing have not yet changed," said festival presidents Cheryl Drill in a release Friday, adding that cancelling the event was an unfortunate but "obvious decision."

"The schedule for immunizations will not reach end goals until well after our event schedule for 2021," she said.

In the meantime, the Parksville Beach Festival Society is continuing to work on designing and building an outdoor performance theatre.

"A beautiful functional performance stage in Parksville Community Park will be a wonderful asset for our region," said Dill. "This has been our Society’s vision for many years."

The society hopes that the outdoor theatre will help offset some of the economic losses that have occurred due to the loss of the Parksville Beach Festival for two years, which regularly brings in roughly 122,000 visitors to the community.