Classic festival needs ‘revamp’

A scene from the 2015 festival parade. Picture: Sam Venn

A scene from the 2015 festival parade. Picture: Sam Venn

“What would you like to see at the Festival of Fisher’s Ghost?”

Councillor Paul Lake thinks its high time Campbelltown Council asked this question of the city’s residents.

He believes the festival – more than 60 years old – is starting to feel its age and needs some desperate revitalisation.

“The older teens and young adults have the Fisher’s Gig which is great for them,” Cr Lake said.

“But we need to engage with the younger kids and the older adults.

“When need people to be proud of what we do here it Campbelltown

“When people go to work in the city and talk to their workmates about home we want them to say ‘Campbelltown does this’, ‘Campbelltown does that’ not just ‘other places do that’.”

Cr Lake thinks the festival’s centrepiece – the parade – is lacking the pizzazz of parades seen elsewhere in Australia and the world.

“It needs some music,” he said.

“You look at parades in Sydney and they all have floats, we should have floats.

“Even in New York, the Macy’s Day parade with the big balloons is an idea – we need to talk to people about what they want to see.”

Balloons in the Macy's Day parade in New York.

Balloons in the Macy's Day parade in New York.

Cr Lake suggested an outdoor cinema in Koshigaya Park or Campbelltown Sports Stadium (Fisher’s Flicks will be screened at Bradbury Park this year) screening popular movies like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Ghostbusters would draw a crowd.

He said the carnival rides held each year are one of the highlights of the festival for younger children and should be supplemented with more attractions to engage youngsters.

He also thought the inclusion of food and beverage stalls throughout the festival would be a great addition.

“There is a foodie culture at the moment,” he said.

“Food and beverage is great, people love that stuff.

“And I’m not talking about just alcohol – although some of that would be fine, we’ve got great local brewers in Smeaton Grange – but even healthy drinks.

“You might get shop owners on Queen Street saying we’d be drawing people away from them, but have they seen Queen Street on a Thursday night or Friday night? It’s dead!

“We’ve got at least 50 different cultures in Campbelltown and if we had a stall for each different cuisine – Indian, Filipino, Spanish, Italian, Greek, even Kiwi and American – how great would that be to celebrate the Campbelltown people?”

A scene from the 2015 festival parade. Picture: Sam Venn

A scene from the 2015 festival parade. Picture: Sam Venn

Cr Lake said he didn’t have the exact solution for sourcing ideas from Campbelltown people as to what they would like to see in the Festival of Fisher’s Ghost, but suggested cold calling, visiting schools or perhaps setting up a digital questionnaire would all be possibilities.

Events for this year’s festival will be held from Friday, November 4 to Saturday, November 13.

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