Carnivale’s over? City looks forward |PICTURES

Click or flick across for more photos from previous Carnivale festivals.

WODONGA’S Carnivale could well and truly be over.

Today marks the first Labour Day long weekend since 2006 the three-day festival has not filled Wodonga’s city centre — and there’s every indication the festival will not return in its previous incarnation.

While representatives from Wodonga Council and the city’s mayor, Rod Wangman, expressed their desire to host a major event in the city, both stopped short of guaranteeing a Carnivale next year.

Cr Wangman said the festival “or something like that” would be part of the council’s deliberations for the 2014-15 budget.

“Carnivale was created from nothing and had various modifications over time,” he said.

“Certainly this period where it isn’t being run does give councillors an opportunity to rethink whether an event like that, whether it’s something similar or completely different, will be part of our calendar.”

The council decided not to a host the event — which has its roots in the 2006 Commonwealth Games when Wodonga was paired with Jamaica — this year, as it planned to be in the middle of its city centre rejuvenation, including the Elgin Boulevard realignment.

In June last year the council’s community development director Debra Mudra said a review was taking place into Carnivale’s format.

Yesterday, Ms Mudra officers had had informal discussions with councillors about the event and feedback had been sought through surveys during the past year.

She said those results told the council that people wanted family friendly, free events that were suitable for all ages and “had a point of difference”.

“We also surveyed people at the last Carnivale and there were comments about the need to freshen it up and do something new,” Ms Mudra said.

“We also want to see what the city centre redevelopment and Boulevard realignment opens up to us.

“Until that is done and we know the space we are working with ... then it might open whole new conversations of what’s suitable.”

She said it would be up to council to decide whether to budget for a festival next year.

Cr Wangman said he personally wanted a “similar but reinvigorated” event next year.

Cr Wangman said that with all the new spaces created — including The Cube, the rebuilding of High Street and Junction Place — it “probably lends itself to something better”.

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