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Community & Business

14 August, 2020

Winter Wonderland: reflection on 2019 event

With Winter Wonderland being forced to take a backseat to the COVID-19 in what was meant be its sophomore year, some locals reflect on what it did for the town last year.

Owner of Central Stores Elizabeth McAllister said the event was similar to the harvest festivals held in town in the 1970s.

“It reminded me of the days of the harvest festivals in the 1970’s when the main street would be packed with people enjoying themselves and we would all end up having dinner at the pub with our parents and their friends afterwards,” Mrs McAllister said.

“It has been a particularly tough year for small business and the whole community and we all would have benefitted from the positive community engagement events like this bring, however keeping our community safe is obviously the first priority.”

The local business owner said that it was disappointing that the follow-up year for Winter Wonderland has panned out the way it has.

“It is such a shame the business community is unable to host the Winter Wonderland again this year having had such a huge success with the inaugural event last year. The effort the businesses put in with decorations and promotions was matched by the enthusiasm from the community who turned up in the hundreds.

“With the impact of the COVID pandemic it is impossible to host anything like that this year but I hope that in the new year we will be able to look at doing another Winter Wonderland and other promotions that bring people into our main street.”

3D’s Butchery Jeff Irvin echoed Mrs McAllister’s sentiment, saying it just wasn’t feasible to hold an event like that with social distancing.

“You can’t put another function or large attraction because you can’t have people there. Last year there would have been at least a thousand people, maybe even 1500. You can’t do that now.”

Despite the tough first half of the year, Mr Irvin said that the town seems to be kicking back into gear and getting on its feet again.

“The town itself is going well though, all the shops are open, there are a lot of tourists and camper vans coming through. We’re one of the lucky towns, you go down the street in other towns that are a similar size and half the shops are empty.”

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