Kootingal Pumpkin Festival is off the menu

THE iconic Kootingal Pumpkin Festival has been cancelled after organisers conceded they no longer had the manpower to put it on.

Kootingal Lions Club treasurer David Emanuel said he was “extremely disappointed”, especially seeing as the annual fundraiser injected $18,000 into the community last year alone.

The event – which pulled 5000 through the gates last year – would not be revived, he said.

“We just don’t have the manpower to run it and there’s no other help,” Mr Emanuel said.

This year’s event, slated for March 23, would have been the 13th held – but with only 15 Lions club members to run it, it was decided to pull the pin.

“It’s just been struggling. It needs people power – it needs people to organise sponsors, to organise police, council,” Mr Emanuel said.

“Personally, it’s disappointing for me, because nobody has considered what the pumpkin festival does for this area (financially).”

In its lifetime, the festival had raised money for Moonbi Public School, the Moonbi-Kootingal brigade of the Rural Fire Service, St John Ambulance, Country Women’s Association, Woolomin Public School and Cockburn Cottage at Kootingal.

Mr Emanuel said the hardest thing of all in making the decision to stop the festival had been “to leave all those organisations isolated”. 

He wished Tamworth Regional Council had offered to help with the administration of the event, at least.

“The Lions Club is there as a community organisation to serve and help, not run themselves into the ground for a festival,” he said.

Tamworth Regional Council business and events director John Sommerlad said the council could help with marketing support if the event was revived but stopped short of saying the council would step in to run the event. 

“If the Kootingal community wants to throw its support behind the Kootingal Pumpkin Festival they can come and talk to us and we will see what support we can provide,” Mr Sommerlad said.

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