Plug pulled on festival

FOR the third consecutive year the Derwent Valley’s iconic Autumn Festival has been cancelled.

In what should have been its 20th anniversary event in April, the volunteer committee announced it had been cancelled due to ongoing Covid infections and restrictions.

“It is with a heavy heart that, again, the voluntary committee has decided to cancel… patron safety, safety of stallholders, and volunteer health and safety is at the forefront of our concern,’’ organisers said in a statement.
“Low stallholder interest and apprehension of patrons attending public events have all impacted our decision to cancel the 2022 Derwent Valley Autumn Festival.
“Hopefully the world is a safer place in 2023.”

Due to have been held on April 3, the popular event showcases the beauty of autumn in the Derwent Valley. Acting Mayor Jessica Cosgrove said she understood the committee’s decision.

“I am sure it is one that is very disheartening for the organising committee who have been working so hard to organise the festival and through circumstances outside their control have had to make this difficult decision for the third year in a row,’’ Ms Cosgrove said.
“I’d like to thank the volunteer committee for their admirable efforts and perseverance in giving back to our community by attempting to revive the grassroots event that prior to Covid had grown to be the largest one-day event in the Derwent Valley, helping to showcase everything that is #UnquestionablyDerwentValley.’’

Ms Cosgrove said in the absence of the Autumn Festival, a number of other events would go ahead.

“It is encouraging to see several local businesses, tourism operators, sporting groups and community organisations are planning smaller-scale Covid-safe events and activities over the coming months,’’ she said.

These included:

• Council’s organised Australia Day celebrations later this month;
• Derwent Valley Arts hosting ongoing exhibitions at The Barracks;
•Ongoing water-based activities for locals and visitors during summer at The Esplanade;
• The Enduro World Series Mountain Bike event at Maydena and the Great Escape Camping Music Festival – both in March;
• The Fresh Hop beer festival in April; and
• The Inaugural Derwent Valley Writers Festival in May.

“A number of our hospitality businesses are also offering ‘take-away” specials – perfect for summer picnics, and hosting small events, with some including food trucks and musicians,” the Acting Mayor said.
“I encourage residents to support these local initiatives as much as you can and help our local Derwent Valley businesses and organisations to endure the ongoing financial impacts of Covid-19.’’