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Fingers crossed for festival go-ahead

The annual Carterton Daffodil Festival attracts thousands of visitors to Wairarapa every September. PHOTO/ FILE

MARCUS ANSELM

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Carterton’s popular Daffodil Festival, a major event in Wairarapa’s social calendar, remains scheduled for Sunday, September 13.
Plans for the spring festival, which usually brings thousands of flower fans to the district, have stepped up in anticipation of a change in pandemic response rules this coming weekend.

The bloom has become synonymous with the town, and features in its council’s branding and public art.

The festival is backed by Carterton District Council [CDC] who offer logistical support, and some funding.

Last month, the council’s audit and risk committee discussed the threat of cancellation due to restrictions following the recent covid-19 outbreak in the upper North Island.

In a statement, CDC said it was preparing for all eventualities and “encourages anyone intending to attend the festival to do the same”.

It is likely strict protocols may be in place to protect everyone, such as wearing masks, and contact tracing.

CDC management remain hopeful it will go ahead.

“The Daffodil Festival is such an iconic and special event for our district, so we have decided to stay the course for 13 September,” CDC’s Community Services Manager Carrie McKenzie said, adding that the council was “very conscious of how much this festival benefits our district”.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience while we wait for the Government’s decision about alert levels,” she said. “Any decision to cancel the festival would be a last resort for us.

“We understand the uncertainty this may give stallholders and others planning their trips to Carterton for the event, but we encourage everyone to hang in there.”

The district’s Lions Club, who also help organise the event, said they were “on target and ready to go if we get the green light”.

Organiser Heather Smith said the club had already matched last year’s “record-breaking” stall numbers.

Funds raised from daffodil picking at the historic Middlerun farm go to the Plunket Society.

Plunket’s Annette Rickman said she remained positive the event would go ahead.

“We are still hopeful and excited about the festival.”

If Wairarapa remains at Alert Level 2 or moves to an alert level which restricts group numbers further, the festival will be cancelled.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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