The future of Gympie’s beloved Gold Rush Festival is in doubt. Councillors questioned its value to the community in the Gympie Regional Council meeting this week.
The future of Gympie’s beloved Gold Rush Festival is in doubt. Councillors questioned its value to the community in the Gympie Regional Council meeting this week.

Another iconic Gympie event falls victim to COVID-19

THE future of the city’s iconic Gold Rush Festival is in doubt following the cancellation of this year’s event due to COVID-19, and the questioning of its value to the community by councillors.

This year’s festival was officially axed at this week’s Gympie Regional Council meeting, councillor Dan Stewart breaking the news by way of a general business motion.

It is the third year in a row the festival has run into problems as severe weather washed out parts of the 2018 and 2019 events.

Gympie’s Gold Rush Festival has been a Mary Street staple for years.
Gympie’s Gold Rush Festival has been a Mary Street staple for years.

Mr Stewart’s motion was more than just a community notice, though.

He proposed for the council to begin looking at next year’s event with an eye toward eventually putting it back in the hands of the community to run.

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But not everyone was on board with council taking the lead in 2021.

Deputy Mayor Hilary Smerdon asked if the event was “a good return for money” after the council spent $75,000 on last year’s Gold Rush.

“There’s a lot of other events in our region that get nowhere near that funding and attract far bigger crowds, and have far better benefit to the region,” Mr Smerdon said.

Shane Waldock disagreed, calling the festival “the pride of the community”.

This year’s festival has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: File
This year’s festival has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: File

“I think it is something we need … the Gold Rush is what put us on the map,” he said.

Mr Devereaux said he was not a fan “but there’s a lot of the community that gets a lot of joy out of it”.

“I do understand … it can be quite expensive, I think there’s something that can be gained out of it for the community.”

Councillors agreed to bring the discussion about the festival’s fate to a future workshop.

Gympie Times


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