Funding boost to bring Thirlmere Festival of Steam chugging back in 2021

It's officially full steam ahead for the 2021 Thirlmere Festival of Steam.

The iconic event was cancelled earlier this year due to the bushfire crisis, however, a funding boost from the federal government has helped to secure the festival's future.

Hume MP Angus Taylor has announced that the Festival of Steam's organisers will receive $72,500 under the Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grants Program.

The funds are expected to be used by Wollondilly Council to revitalise the event.

Mr Taylor said the grant would play an important role in bringing tourists back to Wollondilly.

"The tourism industry has done it incredibly tough this year; there are many local businesses that were hit hard by the bushfires and then Covid," he said.

"These grants will help the community get back on their feet by encouraging people to visit some of the beautiful towns in Wollondilly and supporting local businesses while they are there.

"The much-loved Thirlmere Festival of Steam was sorely missed by the community this year.

"The event has been continually growing in size every year; it's fantastic to see the crowds it draws.

"This grant will assist organisers in bringing it back, better than ever hopefully in 2021."

Wollondilly mayor Robert Khan said train enthusiasts young and old will get to experience all the delights of the Thirlmere Festival of Steam next year.

"The Thirlmere Festival of Steam is the premier steam festival in NSW and our vision together with Transport Heritage NSW is to make it better than ever in 2021," he said.

"The council is very grateful to receive the grant from the federal government which will enable us to explore new opportunities and inclusions for next year's festival.

"It will be used to engage a range of artists, performers and entertainers and particularly for radio and television promotion."

Cr Khan said the festival would be a chance for people in the shire to reconnect and provide an economic boost for businesses following recent bushfires, floods and the pandemic.

"Smart technology will be used to assist in the implementation and evaluation of the event," he said.

"The festival has been running for 30 years and features one of the largest steam collections in Australia.

"In 2021 there will be new additions including a dinner, 'Romancing the Rails', which will be held on-board the Southern Aurora dining carriages on the evening of Friday, March 19.

"There will also be a live music festival and market stalls on the Saturday, with the main festival on Sunday, March 21."

The popular locomotive event was formerly organised by the Rotary Club of Picton however Wollondilly Council and Tranport Heritage NSW will take over management of the festival from 2021.

Transtport NSW, operators of the NSW Rail Museum, chief executive Andrew Moritz reaffirmed their commitment to the annual event earlier this year.

"We look forward to working with the council in further developing and expanding this annual celebration of steam and nostalgia which has continued to attract thousands to the area for more than 30 years," he said.

Organisers of the event will continue to monitor advice from relevant government authorities in relation to events and gatherings.

More information on the 2021 event, including stallholder and sponsorship opportunities, will be released late this year.

This story Funding boost to bring Thirlmere Festival of Steam chugging back in 2021 first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.