THERE is a possibility that the ice rink will be able to return for the Bathurst Winter festival in July.
Bathurst Regional Council is in the process of planning for the next edition of the event, which will follow a very difficult year in 2020 where the entertainment was limited.
Mayor Bobby Bourke said council staff are still determining what attractions will be on the program, but confirmed that the illuminations is one aspect of the festival that will definitely be returning.
The illuminations will be produced by ESEM Projects, the company that has done the lights shows for five out of the last six winter festivals.
"Many community members have been working with ESEM Projects to create the illumination pieces on city buildings," Cr Bourke said.
"This year's illuminations will feature old favourites and some new locations with the Court House out of action due to renovations."
The winter playground is normally the signature attraction of the festival, featuring an ice rink and ferris wheel.
Some years it has also featured a two-storey carousel and a mirror maze.
If it can be done in a COVID-safe way, it appears the ice rink will return after a one-year absence.
"Council is currently working with the ice rink contractor to work through the rink's return in a COVID-safe manner," Cr Bourke said.
"The festival itself will look different to previous years as council finds alternative ways to bring people together in a smaller capacity to facilitate social distancing at events."
There is no word yet on whether or not night markets will be held, or if events from 2020, such as the drive-in theatre, will return this year.
Cr Bourke has acknowledged the difficulties council staff have had trying to come up with events that can be carried out during the pandemic.
"As you can imagine, it is very challenging," he said.
"People want to have the same experience and council staff work to ensure people can come together and experience the best of Bathurst events."
The winter festival will run for two weeks over the July school holidays.
Cr Bourke said the community can expect an announcement on the schedule for the event in May.
"The holidays start a week earlier this year so the event will commence on Saturday June 26, run for two weeks and three weekends finishing on Sunday, July 11," he said.
He is hoping that the event will draw in people from outside the 2795 postcode, and confirmed that council plans to use a targeted marketing campaign to advertise the festival to people outside the area.
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