The Camden Haven Festival has been postponed until late July or early August

RECOGITION: Marine Rescue Camden Haven unit commander Neville Adams, Camden Haven Rural Fire Brigade senior deputy captain David Handley and Fire and Rescue NSW Laurieton deputy captain Terry Standing.
RECOGITION: Marine Rescue Camden Haven unit commander Neville Adams, Camden Haven Rural Fire Brigade senior deputy captain David Handley and Fire and Rescue NSW Laurieton deputy captain Terry Standing.

The Camden Haven Festival, a celebration of the Camden Haven community through fun, art, music and food has been postponed until later this month.

The festival was scheduled to be held near the Camden Haven River in North Haven on July 10 with buskers, market stalls, live music, and kids' activities.

Festival director and Camden Haven Chamber of Commerce marketing coordinator Tashi Payne said organisers are working towards the end of July or August as new festival dates after a meeting late last week.

"We hope the festival will run as we had planned to. Considering the COVID restrictions and being in contact with NSW Health, we have taken on their recommendations and we don't want to jeopardise this as a community-based festival," she said.

"After speaking with NSW Health and local government we have taken their recommendations on board and made the decision to postpone.

"We are hoping there won't be any significant changes because it is a community and local festival using local suppliers. We really want to give the emergency services the recognition they deserve as well.

"This festival is all about the services and the community, we are trying to do what is best for all and keep everyone safe but put on something amazing for them."

The event was expected to kick off with a heroes parade honouring the emergency service volunteers and workers who assisted the community during the recent drought, fires and flood.

Fire and Rescue NSW Laurieton deputy captain Terry Standing said the festival brings the community together and is good recognition for all the crews involved over the last year.

"During the floods we were putting people on the trucks and getting them out through the flood waters. We were involved with the cleanup afterwards over on north shore," he said.

"It was just devastating to see everyone's lives out on the kerb."

Camden Haven Rural Fire Brigade senior deputy captain David Handley said the festival is good recognition of the work that volunteers have put in through floods and fires.

"The fires we saw at Johns River were unbelievable, I've never seen fires like that in my whole career and then we had the floods on top of that and the pandemic," he saiid.

Marine Rescue Camden Haven unit commander Neville Adams said the community has an opportunity to walk up and talk to emergency services during the festival.

"During the floods we lost all communications and I was in a car, using a handheld radio, my phone and CB radio in my car. We were using communication through Bonny Hills to coordinate the boats," he said.

"We got it done, no one died compared to how much damage was done but we are only now getting back to normal and the pandemic is still ongoing."

NSW State Emergency Services Camden Haven, media officer Darren Mearrick said the festival is an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate our resilience.

"We will be more than happy to show the community all of the equipment we work with and some of vehicles as well at the Camden Haven Festival," he said.

"It's an honour to be able to take part in this festival. We are all locals and we are all volunteers just trying to help out in the community."

Event organiser Kate Dwyer said the committee has been in consultation with NSW Health and local government and have taken on board their recommendations.

"The committee would like to give our emergency service workers the best possible acknowledgement and having a parade and festival would not be realistic given the current health and safety concerns," she said.

"Holding a community celebration just one day after health restrictions ease (or are due to), we feel would not be responsible for the safety of our volunteers, our vendors, entertainers, visitors and guests.

"We were prepared to take safety measures, like #coveryourfacejustincase but with the rising case numbers out of Sydney, we feel it's not the right time to bring potentially a few thousand people together.

"It's the third or fourth time the festival has been postponed due to COVID-19. We are very much looking forward to having a celebration when it is safe. We think there will be a lot of pent-up energy ready to let loose and have a great time when it's safe to do so."

The festival is supported by the Camden Haven Chamber of Commerce, NSW Government and Port Macquarie Hastings Council.

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