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Plans in place . . . Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations committee acting chairperson Ruth MacEachern and committee member Brian Harrison are in full planning mode for this year’s November event. PHOTO: ASHLEY SMYTH

Organisers have hit the ground running in their preparations for this year’s Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations (OVHC).

Last year’s plans for the annual November event had to be shelved due to Covid-19 restrictions, and so a lot of the planning and behind-thescenes work had already been done, acting OVHC committee chairwoman Ruth MacEachern said.

‘‘We’re feeling pretty wellorganised, pretty far ahead,’’ Ms MacEachern said.

‘‘We know that there’s always a bit of uncertainty around Covid. But given everything that we know, we feel that things should go ahead quite smoothly, and if the world changes, the world changes, and we just cope at that time.’’

The celebrations will take place from November 16 to 20, with the theme ‘‘Highland Fling’’, to celebrate Oamaru’s Scottish connections.

‘‘It’s a colourful theme, with wide appeal, and we expect to offer plenty of old-fashioned fun,’’ Ms MacEachern said.

‘‘We had done a lot of planning, and while it needs to be refreshed, the basics are all in place.’’

All the events synonymous with the celebrations, such as the street parade, garden party, penny-farthing racing and ceilidh are back on the table, and the week will be capped off by the always-popular Victorian Fete.

Finer details will be finalised following the committee elections at the annual general meeting on May 17.

The meeting was being held at the Brydone Hotel, at 7pm, and the public was welcome, she said.

‘‘Anyone who’s interested in understanding about how we work is welcome to come along. There’s no pressure to join the committee, it’s really just a question of keeping people informed.’’

The committee was also keen to expand and diversify the programme, so anyone wanting to get involved should make contact.

Because last year’s celebrations were called off, a lot of effort has been put into improving systems and processes.

‘‘The back of house work that is invisible, but key to having an effective committee and successful celebrations,’’ Ms MacEachern said.

The committee had been researching other events, such as Kiwiburn, near Hunterville, and the Napier Art Deco Festival, and had a number of ideas that could be adapted to suit Oamaru, she said.

It also hoped to get a better understanding of the benefits the celebrations brought to Oamaru, with any findings to be shared with other local event organisers.

‘‘It’s all about working together to make the most of our unique little town,’’ Ms MacEachern said.