2020 has been the year of cancellations, but as the world regains some normality, question marks have been raised over the future of Penrith’s favourite annual events.
With restrictions on mass outdoor gatherings still uncertain, the likelihood of events such as the Real Festival or even the annual Christmas Tree Lighting going ahead seems slim.
Even if given the green light by the State Government, the planning processes and work behind the scenes that goes into such events can take months.
Penrith CBD Corporation CEO Gai Hawthorn said this is an unfortunate reality, without a clear timeline of when these events will be able to resume.
“We’re hoping our ‘coffee catch-up’ will come back with social distancing, people are craving for that to resume,” she said.
“When it comes to the Tree Lighting, it might not come back this year, you can’t really control a crowd of 25,000.
“You need a Traffic Management Permit five months prior to start with and of course the government aren’t taking them currently because they don’t want to mislead us.
“Everyone is excited and keen to come back as soon as we can but sadly while we are ready to rock we can’t do it.”
Ms Hawthorn said the CBD Corporation is currently looking at potential alternative options, which are to be finalised and announced in the coming weeks.
Penrith Council-run events, such as the Real Festival, also have an uncertain future this year.
A Council spokesperson said they will continue to monitor and review the advice from government and health authorities as restrictions begin to ease.
“Uncertainty around numbers allowed for gatherings means there’s no specific plans for community events at this stage,” the spokesperson said.
Some private events such as the Lakeside Long Lunch and Diesel Dirt & Turf Expo are still scheduled to go ahead this year as planned, provided restrictions are lifted in time.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Nicola Barton is a news journalist with the Western Weekender, primarily covering crime and politics.