The much anticipated start of the 2021 Orange Blossom Festival has fallen victim to the current COVID spread with the iconic Lights, Beats and Eats Festival planned for Castle Hill Showground on August 28 cancelled.
The decision to postpone the community celebration was announced by Hills Shire Mayor Michelle Byrne yesterday. No new date has been set.
The fully packed Orange Blossom Program which stretches across several weeks to September 17th also includes art shows, concerts, a schools expo, Bonsai Show and Kenthurst Fair. The Cross Country Challenge fun run at Bella Vista Park, organised by Castle Hill Rotary Club, planned for August 29th has already been moved to October 10.
It is not known yet if other events will be moved.
Michelle Byrne said she realised that people will be disappointed.
“I understand how much our community is looking forward to celebrating at this year’s Orange Blossom Festival (OBF), so rather than cancel our iconic Lights, Beats and Eats event that was due to run on Saturday, August 28 at the Castle Hill Showground, we’ve decided to postpone it to later in the year in the interests of public health,” she said.
“We’ve been monitoring the COVID-19 updates, and with lockdown now extended, it’s unlikely the Festival can run in its current format.
“Even if restrictions were to ease in time, it will be difficult to stage an event the size of Orange Blossom Festival within such a short timeframe. Orange Blossom Festival requires countless hours of work from all sectors, including Council, private businesses and volunteers. The advice from NSW Health changes almost daily and we are unsure what the health guidelines will look like in five weeks time.
“We understand this situation is challenging for everyone, but the health and safety of residents must come first.
“We will continue to watch and consider all viable event options, but for now, we believe postponing our Lights, Beats and Eats Festival until it is safe to do so is the best course of action.
“However, some Orange Blossom Festival community events may still be able to run in a COVID-safe manner, so please check with the event organisers closer to the date.
“I commend residents for their hard work and patience at this time.
“Please continue to follow the rules and be safe. “
The Hills Shire Orange Blossom Festival was cancelled last year due to Covid.
For more information visit www.orangeblossomfestival.com.au