Victorian Heritage Celebrations reluctantly cancelled

Oamaru's Victorian precinct was a hive of activity.
The Victorian Fete in a previous year. Photo: ODT
Ta-ta to tartan for now.

The Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations has become one of the many events across the country to be cancelled due to Covid-19 uncertainty.

The event’s committee announced the cancellation this week, citing doubts over Covid-19 alert level changes between now and the "Highland Fling"-themed celebrations, scheduled to take place between November 17 and 21.

When approached by the Otago Daily Times, chairwoman Elizabeth Perkinson said the committee made a statement on its Facebook page and she had no further comment.

"Our decision recognises the challenges of Covid-19 restrictions and our responsibility to keep people safe," the statement read.

"The decision was not made lightly, and the committee, having already put in hundreds of volunteer hours, are disappointed but unanimous."

Depending on the restriction level at the time, it was possible that smaller individual events might proceed, such as a fashion show, and the committee could run some pop-up events at a smaller scale.

Next year’s celebrations would be scheduled to take place between November 16 and 20.

The Victorian Fete, usually the grand finale of the celebrations, had also been cancelled, co-ordinator Frances McElhinney said.

The programme would be difficult to "set in motion" under uncertain circumstances, she said.

"Delta has changed everything."

Level 2 restrictions on crowd size made many events very difficult to run, she said.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said he completely understood the decisions.

"[I] know just how much work goes into organising the event and making all the commitments around advertising and the general marketing, he said.

"It’s just too much of a risk."

Organisers encouraged those who had already made bookings to make the trip to Oamaru and enjoy the other great things the town had to offer.


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