Christmas in Camden will have a new look

New look festival: Light Up Camden will this year make way for the Jacaranda Festival. Picture: Brett Atkins
New look festival: Light Up Camden will this year make way for the Jacaranda Festival. Picture: Brett Atkins

Camden’s annual Christmas extravaganza, Light Up Camden, has officially been cancelled.

But residents need not fear – the town will still celebrate with a Christmas festival this year.

The Camden Chamber of Commerce announced last Thursday that the annual November event which rings in the festival season would not be going ahead this year, due to a lack of Camden Council support.

The council has opted to instead throw its support – and Christmas decorations – behind the Argyle Business Collective’s (ABC) Jacaranda Festival, also set for November.

“Council advised the Camden Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Industry over a month ago that their application for Light Up Camden was not successful,” a council spokesman said.

“At that time [the council] encouraged the Camden Chamber to work with the Argyle Street Business Collective to create a community Christmas event for everyone to enjoy.”

ABC founder Andrew Valciukas said the collective was determined to make the Jacaranda Festival as inclusive and diverse as possible.

“This event will run over three days, and the aim is to have a drawcard each day that will attract a different part of the community,” he said.

“The Friday night will be another edition of our successful Live ‘n’ Local event, while Saturday will see a very Instagram-worthy set up of seating under the jacarandas in the street so people can enjoy their food in this special space.

“Sunday will include a Motocross event which ties in with Camden’s long association with motorsport.”

Mr Valciukas said the Jacaranda Festival would better utilise the businesses along Argyle Street than Light Up had done in the past.

“Often the stalls and food offerings at Light Up were in direct competition with the businesses on the main street,” he said.

“The Jacaranda Festival is not going to have any food options that aren’t already on Argyle Street. We want the businesses to benefit from the extra foot traffic.”

The annual tree-lighting ceremony typically held during Light Up will become part of the Jacaranda Festival.

Chamber president Maryann Strickling said in the statement that she was “disappointed” the Jacarada Festival was approved for the week following Light Up Camden’s traditional slot.

“Such programming places members of the community, supporting sponsors, stallholders and school groups in the unenviable position of deciding which event to support,” she said.

Vice president Peter Versluis said the Chamber would “use our energy and resources to support Camden businesses and highlight the unique and local offerings and services available in Camden, and look towards 2019”.

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