With social restrictions becoming stricter, event organisers, and the communities big and small that rely on them for tourist dollars and fundraising, are devastated as events are cancelled or postponed.
The proposed Centenary House Breakfast, which was to be held tomorrow, April 1, has been cancelled in the hope that it will be able to be held at a later date.
Earlier this month Wild Harvest Seafood Festival announced its festival would continue with a greatly altered program and most of its activities postponed until September 25-27, with boat tours and Parks Victoria Junior Ranger to still operate. However, these too have been postponed with the entire festival slated to happen in September.
Festival of the Lakes, a celebration of the Gippsland Lakes environment and sustainability that was to provide the opportunity to chat with community groups, visit market stalls, see and learn more about native animals, face painting, music, stand up paddle boarding as well as a speaker program to learn more about sustainable living as well as projects happening in and around the Gippsland Lakes, was due to take place on Saturday, April 4. It has been rescheduled to a date to be advised as soon as organisers are able.
On March 19, Dinner Plain Alpine Village announced on its Facebook page all Easter activities at Dinner Plain have been cancelled, including circus entertainment, Easter egg hunt, Easter Bunny visit, Geebung Polo Classic, jumping castle, car boot sale, art gallery, kids movies and Good Friday welcome drinks.
It followed this up with a request on March 23 requesting visitors stay away.
“As much as we love to share our part of the world, our healthcare resources are limited and our communities are just as vulnerable as those in the city. We need everyone to respect avoiding nonessential travel. We need you to stay at home,” they said.
“For the time being we’re asking all visitors to take a breath and put off your trip to our region. If you’re already here, it’s time to go home.”
The annual Easter weekend rodeos at Omeo (Easter Saturday) and Buchan (Easter Sunday) have both been postponed with new dates to be advised.
Follow their Facebook pages for updates.
Metung Lions Club’s annual seafood festival was cancelled a couple of weeks ago and will be a big blow to its annual income.
“We usually have 7800 people milling around the Village Green across one and a half to two hours and we have a responsibility to the stallholders, visitors and club members, so it was a no brainer to cancel,” club board member, Hugh Hunter said.
“It’s a wonderful community event and our major fundraiser for the year. Cancelling will reduce our fundraising by a third to a half. We’ll try to make it up in other ways, but it will be difficult.
“Postponement is a word that can be thrown around, but we don’t know, and it would also mean trying to find a weekend that the Village Green would be available.
“It’s a shame, but necessary.” After careful consideration, Bemm River CFA has regrettably postponed its 27th Easter Annual Fundraiser, Fish n Chip Night, normally held on Easter Sunday. The drawing of their major raffle will still take place.
“With ongoing coronavirus concerns and cancellation of large group gatherings, it would be irresponsible not only to the public but to brigade members to put anyone in a situation where the virus could arise from the large group of supporters,” Captain Russell Pardew said.
The brigade will hold the event later in the year.
As advice warnings began to come in about COVID-19, Rotary Club of Mitchell River decided to suspend all its activities.
This includes its weekly meetings, the Paynesville Food Van Fiesta on April 11 and cancelling the Paynesville Makers’ Markets for March and April. All bushfire recovery working bees for March and April have also been cancelled.
The Orbost Exhibition Centre (OEC) has decided the Wood Design Exhibition, which was judged last Thursday and was originally due to open on January 3 then postponed to run at the same time as the Orbost Autumn Festival Community Art Exhibition from Saturday, March 28, to Sunday April 19, will now, along with the autumn festival, not go ahead.
OEC chairperson, Deb Foskey, said the risk-averse thing to do was to cancel the exhibition.
“If government restrictions allow, we will put the Banners of Hope on display in Forest Park on selected (fine) days in Easter,” she said.
Marlo Primary School’s Easter Fete will also be cancelled, including the Go East Market that was to be incorporated into the event.
“It is very regrettable that we have had to make the decision,” principal, Matt Barlee, said.
“It’s disappointing but we wanted to do so sooner rather than later so we could advise stalls holders of our plans.”
All parkruns, which are conducted at 8am every Saturday in hundreds of towns and cities around the world, have been suspended until at least the end of April.
“This is in order to keep all parkrun countries following the same timeline for the moment, although we do expect suspensions to go beyond April,” parkrun global chief operating officer, Tom Williams, said.
Mallacoota Boardriders’ Far Easter Surf Festival, from April 10-12, has also been cancelled.
Follow the festival’s Facebook page to keep updated about a possible reschedule to later this year, though organisers anticipate it might be postponed until April 2021.
Lindenow Lions Club’s major fundraiser, the East Gippsland Field Days has also bitten the dust.
Field days chairman, Ronald Alexander, said it came to the point where the decision was taken out of the committee’s hands.
“When government restrictions came into effect it became very clear to us it was not going to be an option to run on our set date of April 17 and 18,” he said.
“Our mostly volunteer committee spend 12 months of the year preparing for the field days, so it’s not an easy call just to say it’s off. Then we have our 200 plus exhibitors, many of whom rely on the market and fair trade to operate.
“It’s pretty gut wrenching when you have people in tears on the other end of the phone because they are watching their entire business fall apart in a couple of days,” event manager, Sue-Ellen Latham, said.
“Once we have time to tidy up what is left of this year’s event and regroup we do have plans in place to look at trying to run a smaller, quite different event later this year. Hopefully something where our traders can have an opportunity to recoup some lost income and our community can come together and enjoy themselves.”
Bairnsdale Production Line Theatre Company’s Mamma Mia!, which was to hit the Forge Theatre stage for 10 show in the first couple of weeks of May, has also been postponed.
Cast and crew of the stage musical had been in rehearsal since January.
“The Production Line committee and the Mamma Mia! production team is obviously bitterly disappointed that their preparations, which were going so well, have been thrown into disarray,” Production Line president, Viki Wright, said.
The one bright spot for the Mamma Mia! team is the prospect that the show will still open, albeit at a date yet to be determined.
Surf Life Saving Lakes Entrance’s Gippsland Lakes Paddle Challenge, which was to celebrate a decade of the annual event on May 2, has been cancelled.
“Due to the nature and locality of our event, we want to ensure that if we find a safe manageable way to run this event, we will,” followers were told on the event’s Facebook page.
“The continued health and wellbeing of Victorians is, as always, our absolute priority and we recognise the need to minimise close contact with other people and help slow the spread of the virus.”
Bairnsdale Speedway’s Easter Saturday race meet, the Tambo Valley Picnic Races and the Mount Nowa Nowa Fun Run are just some of the sporting events cancelled over the Easter weekend.
ANZAC Day, Saturday, April 25, will be commemorated very differently this year with any ANZAC Day services conducted by RSL sub-branches being closed to the public.
Following the guidelines for places of worship, which must close, except for the conduct of weddings and funerals in accordance with the guidelines, the combined church service that was to be held at the rotunda in Bairnsdale on Good Friday has been cancelled, along with all other church services until further notice.