The Barossa Vintage Festival Parade has achieved a number of milestones in its long history, including laying claim to ‘the longest parade in the southern hemisphere’, but in 2021, the Parade is set for a new record.
The 2021 Festival Parade stands to be the first event of its kind permitted in South Australia, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, pending approval from SA Health.
The Barossa Vintage Festival Parade has been a hallmark event of the Festival since the first parade in 1949, and despite the pandemic-related/COVID-19 challenges facing organisers this year, the Parade is set to go ahead on Saturday, April 17, with a few changes.
To ensure this much-loved event gets the go-ahead, organisers, in consultation with SA Health and Events SA, have made the difficult decision to shorten the Parade route, which will now see the float procession travel from the Jacob’s Creek arch in Murray Street, Tanunda, to Nuraip Road, on the outskirts of the Nuriootpa township.
Despite the change in the route, organisers are proud to be on track to delivering the community parade.
“In a time when parades and pageants have been cancelled we are incredibly proud to be forging ahead with plans to deliver the Festival Parade,” said Festival Director, Jenny O’Brien, whilst also acknowledging the potential for the situation to change.
“We are working hard to meet the requirements of the SA Health COVID Management Plan which is challenging and complex and requires a great deal of operational and on the ground support. Once we have approval from SA Health, the Festival Parade will be the first of its kind since the COVID-19 pandemic; an achievement the entire community can be proud of.
“The Parade will be an acknowledgement of the community’s strength and resilience and an opportunity for the community to come together to celebrate,” said Jenny while admitting it ‘has not been a unilateral decision to shorten the Parade route.’
“Extensive community consultation has occurred prior to the decision being made and we want to thank the key community and business leaders of Nuriootpa, and across the region, for being so supportive in this process,” said Jenny.
“While we acknowledge the need to shorten the Parade may cause some angst and disappointment amongst the community, the safety of participants and spectators is paramount as we continue to take guidance from, and adhere to, Government guidelines.
“We want the Parade to be a success, and understand for this to happen, we need to be agile and accepting of change even if it does cause disruption to our initial plans.
“Taking into account the change of this year’s route, as a committee we can confirm our intent for the Festival Parade in 2023 to travel from Tanunda to Nuriootpa, as a show of support for the Nuriootpa business community.”
With hours of logistics and planning occurring behind the scenes, the Festival Parade committee are now calling on the community to throw their support behind the Festival and rally together to ensure the ‘show can go on’ with interest from the community and business positive with 53 floats registered.
Festival Parade Convenor Carla Wiese-Smith said the Parade itself requires a significant amount of volunteers and on-ground support to proceed.
“Every Festival we put the call out for volunteers to help facilitate the Parade and this year, more than ever, we need the community to support us and help us deliver the Parade – this includes at least 75 volunteers to help on the ground on the day as traffic and COVID marshals,” said Carla.
“The success of this event is dependent on the co-operation and support of our community. This is a call to arms to encourage as many people as possible to put their hand up and volunteer.”
Vintage Festival organisers and Tourism Barossa will continue to work with SA Health, SA Police and Events South Australia to deliver adequate training and briefings for float participants and volunteers ahead of the Parade.
If you are interested in volunteering please contact/register via www.barossavintagefestival.com.au/about/volunteer