With only three weeks until the much anticipated ‘off-year’ Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens, the festival committee has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 festival, due to take place across the Melbourne Cup week.
In announcing the cancellation, Peter Morris, President of the committee says, ‘Our hands are tied – we have no option but to cancel. With the current restrictions in place, even for regional Victoria, visitors aren’t permitted to private residences, which includes their gardens. We must abide by the State Government’s roadmap, which indicates visitation restrictions will be eased on 5 November if vaccination targets are met. There is no guarantee this will occur and is already near the end of the scheduled festival dates. We held out hope that restrictions would ease earlier, and carried on with festival planning to provide a welcome outlet for people to explore the region’s stunning gardens. The committee is deeply disappointed and greatly appreciates the goodwill and support of those who open their gardens. Without such goodwill and positive assistance, it would be impossible to hold each Festival, however the utmost priority is to not put the gardeners or our community at risk.’
Looking ahead, planning will now begin for the 2022 festival, with the committee anticipating there will be a larger number of open gardens. Mount Alexander Shire residents are invited to put forward their garden for consideration now to be included in next year’s festival. The festival includes in town gardens, country gardens, historic gardens, sculpture gardens and any other garden of interest to the general public. Nominations should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance.