NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has today provided a sweet surprise to organisers of the Bingara Happy Days Orange Festival by announcing a $5,000 State Government grant to support the return of the popular event in 2021, after it was cancelled this year due to COVID-19.
Mr Marshall said while it was great the annual Bingara Central School orange harvest was able to proceed despite the pandemic this year, it wasn’t the same without the fanfare of the annual festival.
“With the devastating drought almost in the rear vision mirror there was a high level of excitement in Bingara as businesses looked forward to the economic benefits the Happy Days Orange Festival would deliver,” Mr Marshall said.
“Unfortunately, that didn’t eventuate, but Gwydir Shire Council has already given a commitment the festival will be back bigger and better next year.
“I requested the government provide some funding to cover costs like advertising and marketing, ensuring organisers are able to start promoting the event earlier, in order to capture a wider audience.
“I’m delighted this grant has been provided to support a successful return of the festival next year.
“This will ease the pressure on Council and local businesses having to come up with sponsorship dollars, meaning more time for the important stuff like devising an exciting program which is sure to draw visitors to town.
Last year, according to Mr Marshall, the Orange festival injected $650,000, over two days, into Bingara’s cafés, pubs, accommodation providers and retail outlets providing much needed stimulus during a desperate time.
“The visitation which comes with regional festivals will play an important role in helping rural towns recover from COVID-19 and I am committed to getting as many events as possible, which were cancelled this year, back up, running and benefiting their their communities,” he said.
“I congratulate council on this grant and can’t wait to see the schedule which it pulls together for next year.”
The Bingara Happy Days Orange Festival has been rescheduled for Friday to Sunday, 25 to 27 June 2021.