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Calendar of festive events reviewed in response to COVID-19

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The City of Greater Bendigo has announced some changes to the festive calendar of events due to current COVID-19 restrictions, which includes the cancellation of the Community Christmas Lunch at the All Seasons and the New Year’s Eve fireworks. 

The Christmas tree at Rosalind Park piazza will be installed over the coming weeks and the lights will be turned on by the end of November. Instead of a community Christmas tree light up event, the City will advise when the lights have been turned on and families and friends will be encouraged to safely enjoy an evening picnic or walk in Rosalind Park to take in the lights. 

The City can also confirm planning is underway for the Bendigo Easter Festival and is working closely with the Bendigo Easter Fair Society Inc. The event is still being shaped in response to COVID-19 health guidelines and further announcements on how the event will be staged will be made early next year. 

City Manager Tourism and Major Events Terry Karamaloudis said the decision to cancel the community events in December was carefully considered.

“Unfortunately, the Christmas Community Lunch on Christmas Day and the New Year’s Eve fireworks will not go ahead this year so as we can keep our community COVID-safe and well,” Mr Karamaloudis said.

“I know these are very popular events for our community and visitors to enjoy and I do understand that people will be disappointed with this announcement.

“But we feel this is the right decision to avoid large, compact crowds gathering together, particularly as restrictions are only just being lifted and we are at a critical stage in keeping our community safe and retaining low cases in Greater Bendigo and across the state.

“We know that many people are beginning to think about the festive holidays and how they wish to celebrate important dates like Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, so it’s important that they have these details now.”  

The City is currently in discussions with a range of entertainment providers, food vendors, Rotary and the Showmen’s Guild to plan for the Bendigo Easter Festival. 

“I must stress that we are in the very early stages of preparations because we know that such an event will have to be carefully planned so the community is safe,” Mr Karamaloudis said.

“We are working on various scenarios and seeking advice from the State Government on how we can deliver a COVID-safe Easter event.

“Easter is such a special time in our community and after such a tough year, we want residents and the business community to have something to look forward to.

“I am optimistic that we will be able to stage a great Easter event and hope to have further announcements in early 2021.    

“In the meantime, if we continue to have very low active COVID-19 cases in Victoria, we are planning some great free or low cost outdoor events in January and February as part of our Summer in the Parks program that comply with COVID-19 guidelines so people can relax, enjoy the great outdoors and entertainment while staying safe and responsible.” 

To keep up to date with the Summer in the Parks program, please visit http://www.bendigosummerintheparks.com/

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