WITH only a month to go, the Adelong Gold Rush Festival has been cancelled leaving organisers disappointed but adamant they will deliver a first rate festival to the community in 2014.
It was planned that the revival of the once popular festival would be held in conjunction with the opening of the Adelong Swimming Pool on the weekend of November 23 and 24.
Unfortunately the pool’s opening has been placed back a week, leaving the committee with little choice but to call off the festival.
Ironically the festival committee, which is part of the Adelong Progress Association, just received their final approval from council regarding hosting the event around the same time received word of the delay in the pool opening dates.
Adelong Gold Rush Festival committee member, Kristy O’Donovan, admits she was devastated when she heard the pool opening date had changed.
“We were all disappointed to start with,” Mrs O’Donovan said. “We got together last week and discussed our options and we’re trying to look at it positivity.
“It is really out of our control and out of council’s control. If the pool isn’t ready, then it isn’t ready.
“It is one of those things with building. We can’t get a solid guarantee regarding the pool because of the nature of building so we decided it would be best to put the festival off and concentrate on planning for it next year.”
It was envisaged that the Saturday of the weekend would be a community fun day that would bring back the dry land regatta and include rides, performances and stalls in the Memorial Park along with nugget hunts, a piggy bank river race and plenty of youth orientated activities.
The following day was to be the official opening of the new Adelong Swimming Pool complex, and the Gold Rush Festival planned to host a community fun day with business swimming relays and activities for the entire family.
“Although we had a lot booked, we were also holding off on advertising and some other arrangements as we awaited final approval,” Mrs O’Donovan said. “As hard as it was to decide to hold off until next year, we thought there is no way we could have rebooked everything for the next weekend and there is also no way to confirm that the pool would definitely be ready to open the next weekend.
“In the end we decided to call it off and work with pool committee and swimming club, supporting them with the pool opening and just make that great.”
There were several activities that the committee would have loved to include in this year’s program put due to a hectic organisational schedule they were placed on the back burner for future years.
Now, Mrs O’Donovan said, those avenues can be fully explored and the festival can be moulded and polished into an all encompassing event that explores the historical side behind the gold rush as well as focusing on entertainment.
Next year the committee would love to engage the Adelong Alive Museum and have the Adelong Falls involved somehow as well.
“Now we don’t have to compromise with what we really want to have because we are short of time,” Mrs O’Donovan said. “Next year we will consider having it in different venue as this year wanted to include the pool opening and ensure it was a big event.
“Having re-enactments, talks and tours and getting the history of the gold rush involved would make the festival more authentic. There are ideas that we haven’t fully explored like linking into Gold Trail.
“Having the festival put back a year is an opportunity for us to open more doors and to see what else we can include, it’s the only way to look at it.”
Praising the assistance organisers have received from council’s Community Development team and council as well, Mrs O’Donovan said a lot of the initial groundwork, at least, has been done and they will be able to deliver a truly great event for everyone to enjoy in 2014.
“We are thankful for all the support we have received,” she said. “The Adelong Men’s Shed, the businesses and stall holders and the dedicated committee, we hope they will continue to be there for us next year.”