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Taupo & Turangi Weekender - 2021-10-14

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Dismay as Covid halts iconic fireworks display

NEWS

For many Taupo¯ families, it’s a highlight of the annual calendar. The Starlight Cinema Centre Fireworks and Laser Extravaganza has been running for more than 20 years at Taupo¯‘s Owen Delany Park, attracting thousands of people each year. The event, which is organised by Lake Taupo¯ Rotary with the profits going to local community groups, features food vendors and a family movie before the main event, a spectacular fireworks and laser display set to music, which never fails to disappoint. But Covid-19 alert level 2 rules and the impossibility of knowing whether the Taupo¯ district will be in alert level 1 by the scheduled date of this year’s fireworks extravaganza on Friday, November 5, means organisers have reluctantly had to cancel this year’s event. It was impossible to carry on planning without the certainty of knowing whether it would go ahead. Lake Taupo¯ Rotary president Clive MacDonald said the cancellation was regrettable and the first time the fireworks show had needed to be called off. Unfortunately, no alternative date was available. He said rules for gatherings under Covid-19 alert level 2 meant the fireworks could not go ahead at that level and there was no indication the alert level would be lowered before November 5. In addition, the Rotary club had to consider its responsibility to the community by not holding an event that could potentially spread Covid. Mr MacDonald said he knew families looked forward to the fireworks extravaganza every year as it is significantly more affordable than buying backyard fireworks, is family friendly and provides a spectacular display. In addition, it took a lot of firework activity away from residential areas where animals might be scared or harmed. It also provided income for food vendors, local community groups benefited from the profits and a large amount of planning had already gone in. However, with only three weeks remaining organisers could no longer put off having to make the decision to cancel the event, he said. “It’s a big disappointment that it’s come to this.”

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