A series of city-based Christmas activities, rolled out across several weeks and culminating with the arrival of Santa Claus at a festive waterfront wonderland, will herald the onset of the festive season in place of the traditional Myer Hobart Christmas Pageant.
The City of Hobart has today confirmed that the 2021 pageant would not go ahead as a result of stringent COVID-19 event restrictions.
Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said the City had been working in the hope that the milestone 40th iteration of the pageant would go ahead this year.
“Based on the requirements needed to run a safe event of this type, it would be impossible for us to hold a Christmas pageant that complies with the COVID-19 Events Framework,” Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said.
“This is disappointing news for everyone involved. We had all been looking forward to celebrating the 40th pageant, after it was cancelled last year. But we need to put safety first and adhere to the advice we’ve been given.”
City of Hobart officers consulted early with Worksafe Tasmania on the COVID-19 Safety Plan for a 2021 Christmas Pageant and it was thought at that time that a parade-style event would be able to go ahead.
However, it has been confirmed that a maximum capacity of 5000 people would apply to the entire parade route, making the event both logistically and economically unviable.
“The ongoing situation on the mainland and increased level of risk associated with the Delta strain have heightened the safety concerns in Tasmania, and that has impacted on our ability to hold the event,” Cr Reynolds said.
The City of Hobart will instead roll out a series of festive activities to help the community celebrate the end of another difficult year.
“It’s so important to our collective wellbeing that we celebrate the festive season,” Cr Reynolds said. “To make it extra-special, we’ve enlisted the help of some of the groups that would have been part of the pageant, as well as some of the previous parade floats and props.”
Planned activities include live entertainment in key shopping areas such as Elizabeth Mall, Wellington Arcade, Liverpool Street and Murray Street; and a special event to celebrate Santa’s arrival at Mawson Place, which will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland.
“We’re also supporting community Christmas Carols events through our grants program, as well as providing a quick-response grant to help organisations deliver programs that support vulnerable people in our community during the festive season,” Cr Reynolds said.