Eden Whale Festival modifies 2020 program amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Eden Whale Festival is planning on holding a modified program later this year, but full capacity is not possible amid coronavirus uncertainty. Photo: Ben Smyth
The Eden Whale Festival is planning on holding a modified program later this year, but full capacity is not possible amid coronavirus uncertainty. Photo: Ben Smyth

Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the Eden Whale Festival Committee has made the hard decision to reduce the capacity of the 2020 Whale Festival.

The silver lining of course is that the festival will still go ahead, but executive member Ruth Ernest said the current uncertainty has made planning, fundraising and approval processing a challenge.

"It takes a lot of time, fundraising and community input to plan the festival each year," Ms Ernest said.

"Due to the coronavirus crisis and the uncertainty of what will be permitted, we cannot reasonably run the festival to the same capacity as years past."

While the planned festival weekend won't be "business as usual", the committee is exploring options to celebrate the whale migration and the Sapphire Coast with a modified event.

"We are hopeful that the much-loved street parade and Rod Run may still be held, subject to rulings on social distancing," Ms Ernest said.

New committee member Emma Godfredson said, given the region has been so greatly affected by bushfires, everyone involved was "looking forward to welcoming people back to the area for a wonderful celebration".

"Sadly with the current uncertainty and with less than six month until the festival we just can't deliver that plan."

The committee is exploring continuing with the Rod Run and street parade, smaller community events or even online events depending on how the situation unfolds with COVID-19.

They thanked the Eden community for their patience and support and look forward to bringing everyone together to celebrate the migration of the whales in the future.

For updates check the website, www.edenwhalefestival.com.au

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