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COVID-19 changes Christmas Parade plans

COVID-19 changes Christmas Parade plans
18 August 2020

The 2020 NF McDonnell and Sons Mount Gambier Christmas Parade will look a little different with Council tonight deciding to proceed with a different format for the event due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

The decision comes as organisers continue to explore alternative arrangements, with physical distancing measures difficult to implement and monitor amongst spectators and participants.

“We have been continually monitoring the situation surrounding COVID-19, however given the volume of people that attend each year, it would be at odds with public health advice to attract a large crowd,” City of Mount Gambier General Manager City Growth Judy Nagy said.

“Given the situation just across the border at the moment, there are no certainties with regards to how the virus and subsequent restrictions will play out.”

While the Council endorsed a recommendation to not proceed with the event in 2020 in its usual format, a different form of circulation by Father Christmas around the city and the potential for additional activities is currently being explored.

“Given that many months of preparation go into delivering the Christmas Parade and with entries for the parade traditionally opening in September, Council endorsed a plan to explore an alternative model for 2020.”

Elected Members discussed a number of ideas at tonight’s meeting and Council’s events team and the Christmas Parade Advisory Group will continue to explore arrangements to ensure that children in our community do not feel Christmas has been cancelled.
- City of Mount Gambier General Manager City Growth Judy Nagy

Council will continue to work with the Chamber of Commerce to develop a suitable solution to launching Christmas in the city to support local businesses in place of the traditional parade.

Naming rights sponsor NF McDonnell and Sons have backed the decision and thrown their support behind future events.

“It is the right move in these times of such uncertainty and whilst it is unfortunate, NF McDonnell and Sons are supportive of the council’s decision and are committed to being on board for 2021 and future years of the parade,” NF McDonnell and Sons General Manager Business Ken Sanders said.

City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin OAM is assuring children in the community that Father Christmas will still be able to make his way to Mount Gambier for Christmas.

“I have been assured by the Premier that, just like Easter Bunny, Father Christmas will be permitted to cross the border into South Australia just in time for Christmas.”

“It is disappointing that the pandemic has forced our hand, however I welcome this solution focused approach to deliver some form of visit by Father Christmas to try and retain some magic and sparkle in the season for all our residents,” Mayor Martin said.

Council will provide further information about the modified 2020 event once the details have been finalised.

Media contact: City of Mount Gambier Communications Officer Ashlea Watson on 8721 2577 or