26th Oct 2023 Update | Business Support and Information | Events

“It can’t be that hard to organise a festival”

Organizing a festival might seem like a simple task, but after facing three years of COVID-19 and lockdown-related challenges, we finally managed to put together a smaller version of the Warkworth Kowhai Festival last Saturday. Let’s provide some context: our Kowhai Festival committee had dwindled to just four members, and there were serious discussions about canceling this year’s event. However, we were determined to offer something to our community, even if it meant downsizing due to limited manpower.

Typically, Kowhai Festival preparations kick off in February, involving a range of tasks such as securing funding, permits, amusements, ensuring health and safety, recruiting volunteers, coordinating stalls, booking musicians, setting up a bar, and much more to ensure a fantastic day for everyone. Our committee usually comprises around 12 to 15 people, supported by 30 to 50 volunteers on the day. Sadly, we didn’t have the same resources this year, making it impossible to replicate the scale of our 2019 festival, which marked our 50th anniversary.

We put out a call on social media for more Kowhai Festival committee members, and around 20 individuals answered the call. What’s truly encouraging is that most of them are still actively involved. While it was too late to expand this year’s event, this influx of new committee members means that in 2024, the Kowhai Festival will return to its original size.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of small-town events like ours, both those who join the organizing committee and those who offer a few hours on the day. Each and every one of you is valued and indispensable.

The Mahurangi Winter Festival of Lights follows a similar model, with a small core of 10 committee members handling all the organization and a larger group of volunteers pitching in on event day for setup, breakdown, and other essential roles. These dedicated core members start their day at 6 am and don’t finish until 10.30 pm, underlining the vital role of volunteers in our event’s success.

Community events like the Kowhai FestivalThe Mahurangi Winter Festival for Lights, and the Warkworth Santa Parade don’t just magically materialize; they require an immense amount of behind-the-scenes work. If you attend any of these events, take a moment to express your gratitude to the volunteers who have generously given their time. Your thanks will surely be appreciated.

Mark your calendars for the Warkworth Santa Parade on December 3rd, beginning at 11 am in Baxter Street. We are in need of volunteers to assist with road marshaling along the route, ensuring the safety of families as the floats pass by. This commitment would require you to be in Warkworth from 10:15 am to 1 pm. If you’d like to be part of this iconic event, please let us know. Email me, murray@onemahurangi.co.nz

Finally, One Mahurangi has been collaborating with our local retailers and street-facing businesses as we promote Warkworth as a must-visit destination. We are excited to note that more and more shops are extending their Sunday trading hours as the weather warms up. If you have the opportunity, come into Warkworth on a Sunday, take a leisurely stroll, and show your support for our local businesses. Love local, and as the slogan says, experience the charm of Warkworth on Sundays!

Murray Chapman
One Mahurangi Manager

Support Local, Buy Local, Employ Local, Love Local!

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