LANTERNS on the Lagoon founder Virginia Robinson said that it was “a matter of safety” that led to the decision to cancel this weekend’s festival.
“All week we have had a contingency plan and later in the week we have been grabbing at straws,” she said.
Following much recent rain, venue Tumut Rotary Pioneer Park has been deemed too wet for the event to be held safely and allowing for the necessary vehicle access.
Virginia said the lead-up to the event had been a “roller coaster” for the organisers.
“It got to the point where we had to make a decision, and I am very, very comfortable with the decision,” she said. “Some of the sculptures are very large, and the water at the park would make it too difficult.”
The hardest part was having to disappoint children from the 15 schools that were entering displays.
“It’s the kids I am most disappointed for,” Virginia said.
Schools from Tumut, Adelong, Cabramurra, Talbingo and Brungle were to enter displays.
“We tried to find an alternative venue in Bila Park, but in the end it was just too wet, especially in regards to access. We used to have the Festival of the Falling Leaf festival there, and people involved in that can testify about access difficulty.”
Virginia was heartened by the understanding expressed by those who were to exhibit sculptures and lanterns.
“Every person I have rang (to tell them of the cancellation) has been very supportive,” she said.
She had previously said that the event would not be able to be postponed to another time this year due to the schedules of the schools involved.
There were to be about 30 sculptures exhibited this year, which was on par with previous years. Virginia is pleased with the way Tumut has embraced the festival over the past six years.
“When I started it, people looked at me funny, but now they have claimed ownership of it, and are proud of it,” she said.
The committee, in a statement, thanked all sponsors, lantern makers, sculptors, food stall holders, artists, volunteers and the community for their support and work in preparation for the festival. Organisers will be contacting all our stall holders and artists and all application fees will be refunded.
All enquiries may be directed to [email protected]