THE Australian Art Deco Festival in Leeton has been forced to drastically change its plans ahead of the planned event this coming weekend.
The festival has effectively been cancelled, but some events will go ahead.
The latest COVID lockdowns have impacted almost 40 per cent of patrons and many performers scheduled to take part in the festival.
As a result, Leeton Shire Council said it had no option, but to cancel the Australian Art Deco Festival 2021.
Council said postponing was not an option as many performers were committed elsewhere in the coming months.
However, all is not lost for locals and those who can still travel.
Riverina residents, or those able to travel freely from further afield, will still have the option of attending three sold out events across the July 2 to July 4 dates under the banner of "Riverina Art Deco Revelry".
These events are the Highrollers at the Hydro on Friday night, Bloodshed at the Banquet on Saturday night and the Yanco Agricultural Institute High Tea on Sunday.
The fourth big drawcard is the internationally renowned Ms Fisher's Crypt of Tears Exhibition at the Leeton Museum and Art Gallery, which opens to the public on Friday.
This exhibition will also go ahead across the weekend.
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This impressive costume exhibition with behind the scenes details from the Crypt of Tears film, together with 1920s music and some good coffee, will make for a fabulous day out.
This is a ticketed event, with tickets available at the door ($25 per adult, $20 for seniors, $5 per school child or $50 per family of two adults and two children).
Dine and discover vouchers can be used on the day.
The museum can host 90 patrons at any one time under the latest COVID-19 regulations.
All of this means the "plan B" Riverina Art Deco Revelry will only include the four events listed.
While the scheduled billy cart derby will not proceed, anyone who has made a cart, or has one in storage from 2019, is invited to bring it to the Museum to be put on display in the garden area for the duration of the Riverina Art Deco Revelry weekend.
Council's manager cultural services and creative director for the Australian Art Deco Festival Suesann Vos said a high proportion of attendees to the three sold out events were locals from the Riverina who were not caught up in the Greater Sydney and surrounds lockdowns.
With this information, the team considered what options could continue to be safely delivered for locals from the Riverina.
"We could hear the groans of disappointment from many Leeton locals and businesses when they learnt that running the Australian Art Deco Festival was in doubt due to recent COVID-19 impacts on patrons and performers from Greater Sydney and surrounds," Mrs Vos said.
"With the good co-operation of venue managers and those remaining performers, who are still able to travel from Brisbane and Auckland, where they were on tour, we have decided to pivot from a full scale Australian Art Deco Festival to a Riverina Regional Art Deco Revelry weekend instead."
Australian Art Deco Festival ticket holders will be contacted by organisors on Monday, June 28 and Tuesday, June 29 to arrange their reimbursements or transfers to the Riverina Revelry options available to them, where relevant.
Leeton shire mayor Paul Maytom was still smiling despite the COVID-induced changes to what was to be Leeton's premier tourism event for the year.
"Cancelling the Australian Art Deco Festival in Leeton was not an easy decision, but I am delighted we can offer a plan B," he said.
"Provided the COVID situation remains confined to the cities, with the right COVID safe plans and everyone doing the right thing by following the latest restrictions in full, council is confident that a safe and enjoyable Riverina Art Deco Revelry event can be delivered.
"There will be lots of fun and entertainment for our regional communities and, very importantly, by supporting Riverina Art Deco Revelry we will be providing an economic boost to our local businesses who really deserve it after a challenging few years."
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