Just like so many annual and much anticipated events, this year's Australia Day celebrations throughout the Great Lakes have been cancelled, mainly due to the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19.
The Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance, which was last year held in Forster, will not go ahead in 2021.
Planning around the pandemic, finding a suitable location, sourcing performers and funding from sponsors were some of the obstacles confronting festival organisers.
The festival takes at least eight months to plan, general manager, Rick Gonsalves explained.
"That was at the height of COVID," Mr Gonsalves said.
"It would be too difficult to throw together something at the last minute."
Mr Gonsalves said there was a strong possibility the 2022 event would be hosted somewhere within the Nambucca LGA (local government area).
"Part of the festival philosophy is to have the festival at a different location every year to give the community an opportunity to host the event," he said.
"It is an magnificent event."
MidCoast Council will mark Australia Day 2021 by welcoming new citizens at a special ceremony in Taree.
"It's a shame that we aren't able to mark Australia Day in the same way we usually do and the cancellation of the Saltwater Freshwater Festival is a great loss for our community, but I'm glad we can still celebrate the day this way," mayor, David West said.
As a new club we are keen to try new and innovative things, but we do want the Australian flag to fly on Australia Day.Lance Fletcher
The official Australia Day citizenship ceremony will take place at Club Taree, but attendance numbers will be dictated by the public health order requirements that are in place at the time.
At this stage there is a limit of 80 people, but organisers will be monitoring for any changes that allow for more people to take part.
A council spokesperson explained the decision to cancel this year's Great Lakes citizenship awards was due to the pandemic.
Because of the pandemic many sporting events were cancelled, while restrictions were placed on volunteers and community group activities, the spokesperson said.
"A decision had to be made and that is the modified citizenship ceremony in Taree."
Council was expecting about 30 new Australians to attend the celebration.
Rotary Club of Lower Midcoast will go ahead with the traditional flag raising ceremony at Pilot Hill, Forster, but has cancelled its customary breakfast barbecue and entertainment from the Great Lakes band.
President, Lance Fletcher said Australia Day was the only day when the Australian, NSW and Aboriginal flags were flown at the one time on Pilot Hill, a tradition he was keen to continue.
However, he did admit COVID was only partly to blame for the club's decision not to proceed with its usual events.
"As a new club we are keen to try new and innovative things, but we do want the Australian flag to fly on Australia Day," he said.
Club Forster and Sporties Tuncurry will again hold the popular outdoor Australia Day celebrations with a range of activities and entertainment for the family.
The fun begins in Forster from 11am-2pm and from 4-6pm in Tuncurry.
Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club will celebrate Australia Day in its back lounge from 2pm with entertainer, Gary King and a host of give-away and fun activities.
Those keen to celebrate before the official day can pop along to Club Blackhead at Hallidays Point for its Aussie Thong Throwing competition on Sunday, January 24.
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