IN A last-ditch bid to keep the colour and culture of La Festa buzzing in Griffith, the iconic festival could become a biennial event or even moved back to Banna Avenue.
At its AGM on Wednesday night, the committee agreed to go ahead with the event in 2013, but there’s no guarantee it will run the following year.
The Easter celebration has hit hard times in recent years with waning sponsor interest, weary volunteers and controversy over its relocation from the main street.
While 12,000 people filed through the gates this year, the committee struggled to cover costs – even with a $15,000 grant from the state government.
A proposal to stage the event biannually, in the opposing years to Leeton’s SunRice Festival, was one of many suggestions tabled at the meeting.
The committee will also consider the unrelenting calls to return La Festa to Banna Avenue.
“There are so many points against moving back to the main street but we need to be open-minded if La Festa is going to survive,” chairman Doug Curran said.
“There have been calls to extend the festival over two or three days but that would mean even more volunteers, more money and we definitely wouldn’t be able to close Banna Avenue for that long.
“When I floated the idea 12 months ago that we should hold it every two years, I was howled down but, by doing that, we would have a committee that one year works its butt off, then has a whole year to rest before putting all its energy in again.“
Other suggestions included removing alcohol from the event, using local entertainment instead of big-name acts such as The Sunny Cowgirls and changing the layout of the event.
Cr Curran said all ideas would be considered and it was likely there would be changes to the festival’s format.
Of the 16 people who attended the AGM, only a handful had not sat on the committee in previous years.
Disappointed Griffith tourism manager Rick Matkowski said the community needed to give an indication of whether it wanted La Festa to continue.
“I appreciate that people have got their priorities but this is their event and, if they don’t want it, they just need to say so and it won’t happen,” Mr Matkowski said.
“This event is about community spirit and that’s what we need to keep it going.
“It’s a shame that you only see the same people putting their hands up each year. Everyone else needs to ask themselves what they would do on Easter Saturday if there was no La Festa.”