Kannamaroo has come to reflect the change in seasons from spring to summer and while anchored by a traditional Friday night street party in Horsham’s shopping heart, includes and embraces other events across the weekend.
A Great Wimmera River Duck Race, which raises money for Wimmera Health Care Group Foundation, has become an integral part of extended festival activities.
Kannamaroo Festival committee chair Di Bell said the trial, coinciding with the event’s 40th birthday, was based on an effort to incorporate key events into a bigger weekend.
She said the festival committee had approached Carols by Candlelight organisers to trial having the two events on the same weekend.
“Over the years I have often looked at events and believed if we worked with others, we could pool with other events and create a feature-festival weekend for Horsham, with each committee operating their own individual events,” she said.
“We need to look at things differently on a whole to create bigger drawcards for locals and attract visitors.
“Many groups are operating with very small committees and struggle to bring in new members.
“By collaborating with other events we can host a festival-style weekend without extra workload on individual committees.
“Kannamaroo has been moving towards this in recent years and incorporated the motorcycle Toy Run, and the Horsham Aquatic Centre big inflatables Pool Party into our weekend.”
Horsham Christian Ministers Association presents Horsham carols, which in the past has attracted thousands of people.
Event co-ordinator Simon Dandy said bringing the two events together made sense.
“It’s a busy time of year for everyone and in having events that were only a week apart might have been a bit much,” he said.
“The carols are on the first Sunday of December and they just happened to fall on December 1 this year.
“With a lot of people in Horsham already there are a lot of economies of scale to consider.”
“We remain two distinct events and the idea is to bring two autonomous events together in partnership to see if it works better for the community,” Mr Dandy said.
“The hope is that if people are around for Kannamaroo then they can also come along to carols. There are many synergies.”
Mrs Bell said the change of date had other potential benefits with students free of examinations to become part of the festival.
“It would be great if some of our youth were interested in joining our committee to continually bring new ideas for future festivals,” she said.
Mrs Bell said the change meant Kannamaroo would not present events at Sawyer Park on the Saturday this year to allow for Carols by Candlelight preparations.
“We are looking instead to do more in the CBD on the Saturday morning around the arrival of the Toy Run, maybe a sidewalk market-style event with music,” she said.
“Any market stall operators are asked to contact the festival committee via Facebook or by calling 1300 668 315 if they would be interested in participating.”
Mr Dandy stressed the partnership idea was a trial and what happened in the future was an unknown.
The Great Wimmera Duck Race, run by Friends of Wimmera Health Care Group Foundation and in its seventh year, is also part of new arrangements.
The event has 2000 plastic ducks, all with numbers, involved in a river race.
Organisers sold more than 2000 tickets before last year’s race and are still discussing a day and time for this year’s event.