Light Up Camden festival future uncertain

Light Up Camden is one of the region’s most popular Christmas events, however this year’s celebrations are far from guaranteed.

The annual festival usually receives $10,000 in community grant funding from Camden Council but no council funds have been allocated to the event in 2018.

Camden Council’s annual tree lighting ceremony, which usually takes place during Light Up Camden, will instead take place during the inaugural Jacaranda Festival this year.

Camden Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Industry president Maryann Strickling said they had not recieved any official confirmation from Camden Council about their community grant application.

“We have read some reports in the newspapers only, therefore [we] have sent requests to council for further information regarding the various support structures to enable Light Up Camden to proceed,” she said.

“For an event that brings 10,000 people to the town on a single evening, a lot of preparation and planning has already commenced for Light Up Camden.

“The chamber has still had no reply from council, however we imagine that council is supportive of all events in Camden which highlight the town, its unique setting and exposes people to the variety of quality retail and services available.”

The inaugural Macarthur Jacaranda Festival will be held from November 23 to 25.

Camden Council will provide $10,000 in funding to the Argyle Business Collective to host the event.

Camden mayor Lara Symkowiak told the Advertiser last week the new festival would celebrate the town’s iconic jacarandas and incorporate some Christmas celebrations.

“People love the tradition of the Christmas tree but it will be good to have some renewal,” she said.

“It will be a tradition with a twist  – and I am confident it will be well received by the community.”

A Camden Council spokeswoman said council has advised the Camden Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Industry of its decision to hold the tree lighting ceremony during the Jacaranda Festival.

“[We] have encouraged them to work with the Argyle Street Business Collective to create a community Christmas event for all to enjoy,” she said.

Ms Strickling said the chamber was supportive of any events that would highlight the Camden town centre.

“The Camden Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Industry supports many local events such as the Camden Art Prize, the Camden Show, the Argyle Affair and more,” she said.

“These wonderful events bring many people to the town.

“Active promotion of the town through various platforms is vital.

“The chamber is a founding member of the South West Sydney Tourism Taskforce designed to drive and maximise tourism to the region.”

The taskforce will hold an open meeting on Friday, August 10 from 10am at the Camden Civic Centre with speakers from TripAdvisor, Ali-pay and Western Sydney University Tourism School.

Details: enquiries@camdenchamber.com.au.