2020 marks the 51st year of the Kowhai Festival.
The Kowhai Festival’s flagship event The Huge Day Out and the Warkworth Santa Parade have been cancelled this year due to concerns over Covid-19.
The Huge Day Out was scheduled for October 18. Another Kowhai Festival event, The Great Debate, has been postponed until late February or early March.
There was still hope the Festival’s Movie Night, scheduled for October 31, might proceed, possibly as a drive-in event.
Kowhai Festival committee chair Darrell McNab says the overriding concern of the committee in making the decisions was the responsibility to maintain public safety.
“The last thing we wanted to be seen to be doing was transmitting a dangerous disease. It’s just not right,” he says.
Mr McNab says the committee was keeping its options open until the last minute, hoping the situation would improve, but the jump back into Level 3 Lockdown in August showed there was no certainty or stability in the situation.
2020 marks the 51st year of the long-running festival.
It’s hoped that circumstances next year will allow the festival to proceed as normal.
Santa Parade organiser Murray Chapman says the decision to cancel the event, scheduled for December 6, recognises that if just one person got sick in the wake of the parade, it would reflect poorly on Warkworth.
“We don’t want our town to become a cluster. It would not do us any good at all,” he says.
In addition to posing a deadly threat to the vulnerable, Mr Chapman says it would also be devastating for local business.
In place of a traditional Santa parade, organisers plan to take Santa around on his sleigh to local kindergartens and preschools so that children do not miss out. There will be photos with Santa and lolly scrambles as part of the fun.