Goomeri Pumpkin Festival Inc secretary Emma Schneider is worried that the Association may have to be wound up if the Executive positions are not filled at the rescheduled November AGM

October 14, 2021

How could a festival that just celebrated its biggest year – and boosted the South Burnett economy by an estimated $2.3 million – be contemplating winding up?

But that’s exactly the position the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival finds itself in at the moment.

The incorporated association held its Annual General Meeting on October 5, but not one of the Executive positions or co-ordinators’ positions were filled.

It has now rescheduled the AGM for 7:00pm on November 3 at the Goomeri Hall Of Memory in a last-ditch attempt to save the event.

Current secretary Emma Schneider, who has been in the role for the past four years, said the Executive members were standing down for various reasons.

All positions had been declared vacant, including that of co-ordinator Kim Boyter who has been guiding the event for the past six years.

Emma told the 2021 festival – which celebrated the event’s 25th anniversary – had been the biggest yet.

Figures collected by Tourism and Events Queensland estimated it added $2.3 million to the local economy during the week-long activities.

Emma said motels and other accommodation venues had been booked out from Kingaroy to Kilkivan.

But the festival was now desperately calling out for help.

“We are on the hunt for new volunteers for the 2022 committee,” she said.

“We need to be compliant with the Office Of Fair Trading. We need to have an Executive Committee for us to continue.”

As well as the main Executive positions, the Association also needs to find volunteers for about 12 other positions, including sponsorship co-ordinator, volunteer co-ordinator, operations manager, street parade co-ordinator, stalls site co-ordinator etc.

None of these positions have been filled.

“It’s very frightening,” Emma said.

“When you start talking about no more Pumpkin Festival it’s very hard, especially for the current committee.”

She said Gympie Regional Council had been very supportive of the festival, and were its major sponsor, but there had been no indication Council could step in and take over the organisation of the event.

Emma said if the Executive positions were not filled at the November AGM, the current committee would have to look at closing the Association down.

If this occurred, the assets would probably be sold off and the proceeds put towards a community project in the town.

“What that looks like, we’re trying not to think about … but that’s in the back of our heads, unfortunately. What comes next?” she said.

“It’s definitely heartbreaking.”

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