Rhodo looks for alternative celebration

No royal parade: The parade has been canned for 2020. Pictured are 2018 princess, Amy Antaw, and 2019 royal family Tibby, Bruce and Michelle McKenzie.
No royal parade: The parade has been canned for 2020. Pictured are 2018 princess, Amy Antaw, and 2019 royal family Tibby, Bruce and Michelle McKenzie.

It may not be business as usual for this year's Blackheath Rhododendron Festival but there are plans afoot for an alternative celebration.

The festival committee, concerned about community safety, reluctantly decided to cancel August's planned choir festival and the annual art show, which generally runs at the end of October to the first weekend in November.

However the festival committee has taken the decision not to cancel the Rhodo Festival itself.

Lithgow Highland Pipe Band leading the Rhodo parade last year.

Lithgow Highland Pipe Band leading the Rhodo parade last year.

While the grand parade cannot go ahead because of the uncertainty about what restrictions might apply in November, the festival committee is working on a different kind of community get-together that will enable the community to safely celebrate Rhodo Day.

Rhodo president, Elizabeth Giddey, said the committee was looking at a number of options.

"We very much hope to put on something that helps celebrate the Blackheath community after a very trying 12 months," she said.

"We're leaving our options open as to how this would evolve. It may not happen on the traditional Rhodo Day but it will happen.

"With so much uncertainty about what restrictions may or may not apply in November, the committee felt we couldn't take the risk of outlaying funds if it ultimately could not go ahead."

Rhodo royals: 2018 princess Amy Antaw and 2019 royal family Tibby, Michelle and Bruce McKenzie.

Rhodo royals: 2018 princess Amy Antaw and 2019 royal family Tibby, Michelle and Bruce McKenzie.

The Rhodo Festival has been held every year since 1953 and is believed to be one of the, if not the, longest continuously running community festivals in the country.