After 15 years of success the Little Big Day Out is no more, with councillors voting to replace it with a new children’s festival at Tuesday night’s meeting.
The “Spring Jam”, to be held on October 13, will feature five festival zones targeting children aged between 2-12 years old and their families.
In a report presented to councillors at Tuesday night’s meeting, staff said there was no major children’s festival in the region and suggested spending $40,000 on Spring Jam, bringing an end to the Little Big Day Out.
The revamped festival, which was supported by Destination Riverina Murray, would be pitched at residents and visitors and include both free and paid activities at the botanic gardens on October 13.
Among the possible paid attractions was a big-top style tent that would provide a stage for shows by “a nationally recognised children’s performer”.
Councillor Vanessa Keenan commended staff on adapting the concept to meet community needs, while former mayor Rod Kendall said it was important not to “sit on our laurels”.
“If we leave it at that, in my experience, an event will die,” Cr Kendall said. “Refreshing an event is really important.”
While the new event wasn’t specifically aimed at high school students, Cr Tim Koschel said there was an opportunity to cater for that demographic as well.
“There’s not a lot for the year 7 and year 8 age group, they say there’s nothing to do in Wagga,” he said.
Goodstart Estella’s Danielle Lange took two of her own children to Little Big Day Out last year and said they had a ball.
“The activities were good and age-appropriate, I’d be interested to see how they cater for more ages though,” Ms Lange said. “If there were a few different things to do, even more sporting ones with obesity such a problem in children, something like Auskick, throwing a ball or a bit of soccer to learn some skills might be an idea. Little Big Day Out is certainly well-known in the community, we have a lot of children from the centre visit every year.”
Megan Cameron from Possums Playground said the proposed changes were a great idea.
“I reckon it’s amazing, especially if they offer more aspects to children and different ideas to the community,” Ms Cameron said.
“We used to take children to Little Big Day Out all the time and the lines got to be a bit much when you had a big group, they had all the right elements but the demand for activities wasn’t being met. If they made the experiences bigger and more flexible so more children could have a go, more variety and healthy food options – maybe even cooking things – that could be fun.”