Recently two popular summer events held in Ōrewa – the Boulevard Arts Fiesta and the Longest Dinner – were both cancelled.
The events are organised by Destination Ōrewa Beach. Its manager, Hellen Wilkins, says there is just not enough certainty to make it work.
This would have been the third Longest Dinner. It takes place in February and has been a sellout, involving several Ōrewa restaurants providing food for diners at an outdoor table that stretches down part of Hibiscus Coast Highway.
In 2020, 500 people took part. The 2021 event was cancelled due to the re-emergence of Covid-19, and the 2022 dinner has gone the same way.
Hellen says among the issues are that Council will process event permits but not issue an approved permit until Auckland is in the orange traffic light phase.
“Yet we need the permit issued to be able to finalise specific aspects of this event,” she says. “There would also need to be 1m between each dining group at the table and dancing would not be permitted due to the risk of sweat bead infection spread.”
The organisation has also pulled February’s Boulevard Arts Fiesta, for the same reasons.
This event attracts a big crowd to markets and activities down Hibiscus Coast Highway.
“The orange and green traffic light phases still have limitations on the number of people attending events –100 even with a Covid passport system,” Hellen says.
“It was a devastating decision. We looked at it from all angles – we have turned it upside down and inside out and we just cannot make it work within the time frame available.”
Hellen says her advice from Council is that this year is a write off for events, as is January and probably February.
“We’d hope that some level of normality would resume for March onwards but that in itself is not guaranteed around the traffic light phases.”