Tourism operators support popular event

THE Derwent Valley’s Autumn Festival has been saved with local tourism operators stepping in to support the popular event.

No sooner had the festival committee decided it would abandon plans for a 2023 event, and officially dismantled the organisation, a new group has been formed with tourism operator Liz Virtue involved.

Last week the Gazette exclusively revealed the event was on the verge of collapse, with organisers being tight-lipped about its future Committee member Lisa Clarke said a further meeting would be held next year to discuss the future of the festival. However a hastily convened meeting was held on Monday evening this week and the committee officially pulled the pin.

In minutes from the meeting, obtained by the Gazette, the committee unanimously agreed to disband and cancel the event. It was agreed sponsorship would be returned to donors, tents donated to the Derwent Valley Council and a “wake’’ be held to thank past committee members and helpers.

Ms Virtue has previously expressed disappointment in the decision not to proceed but said yesterday “the Derwent Valley Autumn Festival will be back in 2023 under new management.”

A new Facebook site promoting the Autumn Festival was launched on Monday just hours after the previous committee announced it would abandon the event.

The Facebook site has Derwent Valley branding on it. Details of the new event are still to be mapped out, but Ms Virtue has previously said she hoped a series of “satellite events’’ could be held throughout the Derwent Valley in autumn to attract visitors.

Meanwhile, a Derwent Valley Summer Festival is planned on The Esplanade. Jessica Cosgrove, who operates the New Norfolk market on Saturdays, announced the event would be held on Sunday, January 22 from 10am to 4pm.

“Exciting announcement. I’m organising an inaugural Derwent Valley Summer Festival to be held next month at the beautiful New Norfolk Esplanade,’’ Ms Cosgrove said.

“This event is catered for all ages, with a separate licensed area near the brand-new stage. “Free Entry; although a gold coin donation upon arrival would be appreciated to help cover costs.’’

The event will have stalls, free entertainment for adults and children, food and drinks, farm animals, face painting, rides and more.