AGM lacks festival enthusiam

The Alexandra Blossom Festival Committee is disappointed only three members of the public attended its annual meeting in Alexandra on Tuesday night.

When advertised, the meeting agenda listed a technical rule change from the Alexandra Community Board to the Vincent Community Board, and the appointment of a committee to organise this year's festival in September.

Initially, festival committee chairman Steve Battrick declined to comment about the meeting.

When contacted yesterday by the Otago Daily Times, Mr Battrick said it was ‘‘extremely disappointing'' there was such an obvious lack of interest from the public in what he described as a highly regarded calendar event for the town.

‘‘The meeting is the opportune time to come to an understanding about the financial accounts. It was disappointing to say the least.

‘‘I was surprised that given the size and iconic nature of the festival more people didn't attend,'' Mr Battrick said.

Annually, the blossom festival generated about $1 million of discretionary spending in Alexandra, with tens of thousands of people flowing into the town over two or three days.

Mr Battrick said the committee was usually encouraged by community support, and it was a let-down not to have such support at the annual meeting.

His report tabled at the meeting outlined plans for the coming festival, which would operate in much the same way as in 2007.

The mardi gras, round the clock race, Wool On awards, procession, Saturday in the park, and night entertainment would all be part of the festivities this year.

Some minor adjustments were planned to prevent a repeat of last year's mishaps, and Project Excel was again hired to manage the event through constant liaison with the committee.

Mr Battrick said a festival budget and more detailed plan would be confirmed at the first incoming committee meeting of the year, to be held within a month.

‘‘After that, we will have a much better idea of any perceived changes to the festival and a more certain idea of our sponsorship,'' he said.

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