The Daylesford and District Horticultural Society, in conjunction with the Friends of Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens, are planning a COVID-safe celebration of spring in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.

The festival bucks the trend of local event cancellations and postponements due to COVID restrictions. The Daylesford Show has been cancelled for 2021 and Words in Winter has been postponed until summer.

The Sprout event is planned for the weekend of November 19-21. Participating local businesses and traders will have a floral installation created for their shopfront by a team of designers and helpers from the Horticultural Society and the Friends.  The Hortis and the Friends will donate foliage and flowers to create themed displays which feature local clubs and associations. The festival will create atmosphere in the shopping districts of our community without requiring gatherings of people. In that way, the event will be COVID-safe.

The Hortis have been successful in attracting $2,500 from the Hepburn Shire Community Grants Program and another $1,100 form the Community Bank Daylesford and District to support the event.

The organising committee, consisting of Hortis, Jill Teschendorff, and Friends, Denise Robinson and Sue Mucke, are approaching local traders seeking support for the concept. “We thank the Bank and the Council for their generous support,”  said Jill Teschendorff. The organisers have also received strong support from the community. “We have spoken to over half of the local traders and many have enthusiastically agreed to be part of Sprout. We encourage people to contact us if they would like to be involved.” Contact Denise Robinson or Jill Teschendorff for further information.

President of the Daylesford and District Agricultural Show, Don Harvey, has reluctantly announced the cancellation of the Daylesford Show for 2021. “A show requires committee, volunteers and competitors to spend a lot time and effort preparing and there is still the chance that it could be cancelled with only a few hours notice,” he said in a social media announcement. “There is also an added layer of effort required to make this a COVID-safe event… Keeping our community and everyone safe is our priority.”

Maia Irell has announced that “Words in Winter” will become “Words in Summer” for this year. “The best idea we can come up with is to postpone events until summer,” she said. “Then we can do them outside. Warmer weather in summer.”

A decision is yet to be made about the 2021 Highland Gathering. The committee of the Daylesford Highland Gathering Association will meet next week to make a decision about the event usually held on the first Saturday in December.