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Innovative events to keep community connected

Council will continue to find new and innovative ways to connect with our community through an adaptable and engaging events program in 2020/21.

Council-run events have been largely untouched by Covid-19, however the decision has been made to cancel this year’s Winterfest, which will return in 2021.

“The first Winterfest in 2019 was an enormous hit with our community, bringing people together at the end of winter for an amazing two days,” Mayor Dean Rees said.

“While this was a difficult decision we can assure our community the yeti will be back.”

The next scheduled Council-run event is the Seniors Festival which has been totally revamped and reimagined for 2020. The new look festival is now spread over a 6-month period instead of the usual 2 weeks in October.

“A highlight of this year’s Seniors Festival is the engagement of our very own Wang Players and Oak FM who are putting together a brilliant “Golden Age of Radio” series,” he said.

“More than ever, we need to be connected with our older community.”

November the community will be commemorating Remembrance Day in collaboration with the Wangaratta RSL.

“Our first hope is to run the event as normal,” Cr Rees said.

“However if necessary we will live stream the ceremony into people’s homes, nursing homes and hospitals.

“This was done for ANZAC day earlier in the year and we had over 5,000 people watch the broadcast, making it more inclusive than ever.

In the lead up to Christmas Council has run the “Lighting of the Christmas Tree” event in the Riverside Square. Plans are already in place to revamp this event into a fun night of festive exploration and online competitions! Renamed #lightupwangaratta, the community will be encouraged to jump in their cars and follow a Christmas lights map on the 10th of December. This will coincide with the first night that the tree will light up Riverside Square.

Cr Rees said plans were also in place for New Year’s Eve.

“Fingers crossed we will be back on track for our New Year’s Eve’s event in Apex Park,” he said.

“However, the events team are busy working on a backup plan to provide an alternative Covid-19 safe event in case restrictions still apply.”

Additionally, Council staff are also working closely with external event holders to ensure their planning aligns with Covid Regulations.

“Although there is no doubt this year has been challenging, we can’t wait for our events season to get back to normal,” Cr Rees said.

“In the meantime, we are working creatively to ‘go on with the show’ where possible and keep our community connected.”

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