Organisers behind the Bellingen Community Markets have backflipped on their decision to resume the popular monthly event.
Organisers behind the Bellingen Community Markets have backflipped on their decision to resume the popular monthly event.

COVID: Uncertainty clouds the Coffs Coast events scene

WHAT'S on and what's off? That's the question on everyone's lips as the local festival and events scene becomes increasingly unstable amid the looming threat of COVID-19.

The resurgence of the virus in Victoria, coupled with outbreaks in Sydney, has created uncertainty among local event organisers with some making cancellations while others are forging ahead in a bid to keep the local economy afloat.

Organisers of the popular Bellingen Community Markets, which resumed last month, have now backflipped on the decision after it attracted a massive crowd including numerous out-of-town visitors.

While the Victoria border is currently closed and the Queensland border is set to close this weekend, there are currently no travel bans for those residing in hotspot locations in Sydney.

The Bellingen Community Markets Committee has cancelled its events until further notice due to the concerns that the market draws crowd of more than "5,000 people from a 500km radius."

This cancellation comes at the same time Coffs Harbour City Council announced it would resume its weekly Growers Market in City Square from next week.

 

The Coffs Coast Growers Market will return on August 13 in a bid to keep the local economy afloat. Photo: Coffs Harbour City Council
The Coffs Coast Growers Market will return on August 13 in a bid to keep the local economy afloat. Photo: Coffs Harbour City Council

Attendees are being urged by the council to 'shop and go' to avoid congestion.

The council's City Centre Marketing and Activation Coordinator, Victoria Harper, said the decision was made in consideration of local businesses that are being impacted by the decreased foot traffic in the CBD.

"The economic and community benefits of having a local Growers Market are very wide-reaching," Ms Harper said.

"Before we reopened we wanted to ensure that we had a COVID-safe approach firmly in place for the market stallholders, City Square businesses and pedestrians."

The Coffs Cup is another event that has been given the green light to go ahead, and will take place tomorrow with limited seating. However the usual part-day public holiday is not in place this year.

Meanwhile a number of iconic North Coast events including Curryfest in Woolgoolga and the Jacaranda Festival in Grafton have been cancelled.

 

Curryfest, which draws crowd of more than 16,000, will not go ahead this year.
Curryfest, which draws crowd of more than 16,000, will not go ahead this year.

Event organisers and local businesses must have COVID-19 Safety Plans or face hefty penalties under the Public Health Order.

Here is a rundown so far on events and festivals that are 'on' and 'off':

What's On

- Coffs Coast Growers Market will resume from August 13.

- The Coffs Cup will take place tomorrow, August 6.

- The Village Farmer's Market is held in Queen St, Woolgoolga every Friday.

- The Harbourside Market is held at the Jetty Foreshore every Sunday.

- The monthly Giingan Gumbayngirr Cultural Experience will be held on Saturday, August 8.

 

The Jacaranda Festival has been cancelled for 2020. Photo: Adam Hourigan
The Jacaranda Festival has been cancelled for 2020. Photo: Adam Hourigan

What's Off

- Curryfest 2020, which was scheduled for September 26.

- The Grafton Jacaranda Festival.

- Ocean Harvest Festival, which was scheduled for August 8.

- The inaugural 2020 Bluewater BBQ Festival which was scheduled for September 5.

- Coffs Harbour Running Festival which was scheduled for September 13.

- Bellingen Community Markets which takes place on the third Saturday of every month.