The Prawn Festival is cooked
THE Ballina Prawn Festival will not be held this year, with the decision blamed on the weather.
The festival is organised by the Ballina Chamber of Commerce.
President of the chamber, Martin Corkery, said the "difficult” decision to not hold the festival in November this year was because of the storms and poor weather that have affected the outdoor festival since its inception in 2013.
"It's the wrong time of year to hold a festival,” he said.
"We need to have a break from it this year and we'll decide later in the year on the future of the event.
"It's become an iconic event.”
The festival was slotted into November as it was initially held to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Las Balsas raft expedition, which arrived in Ballina from Ecuador in 1973.
The prawn theme was added to give the event sustainability.
A cover charge was put on festival entry two years ago, and last year it cost $10 for an adult to enter.
But Mr Corkery said the downturn in numbers at last year's festival was purely about the weather and not the entry price.
Ballina's Mayor, Cr David Wright, said it was "disappointing” to see another festival fail in Ballina.
The Ballina Prawn Festival is likely to now join the Kingsford Smith Festival, Ballina's Bounty Festival, the Ballina Aquatic Festival, Ballina Alive and Rivafest as festivals that have died in Ballina.
Cr Wright said there are festivals that have been organised by essentially one person, and eventually "they get tired”.
"Any festival in any town is going to be difficult to sustain without getting other people on board,” he said.
While the chamber denies the cover charge affected attendance, Cr Wright didn't agree, saying for the expense of going to the festival, eating and paying for the children to go on rides, "you could have gone to Dreamworld”.
"(The festival) was not getting the locals,” he said.
"They tried their best, but with the concept they had, but it didn't work.”
He said council would continue to fund local festivals from its pool of $120,000 for festivals and events, and cited the Ballina Food and Wine Festival and the Skullcandy Oz Grom Open surf event at Lennox Head as two success stories.