Residents are rallying to bring back a popular Christmas carols event, which has been cancelled for this year.
The Wyndham Carols by Candlelight at Werribee Park is usually staged in early December and has been held for more than 30 years.
The event – which is also known as “Carols at the Mansion” – traditionally attracts thousands of visitors and is the largest Carols by Candlelight in the state, apart from Melbourne council’s Christmas Eve concert.
Candlelight chairman Pastor Eddy Venema said the Wyndham Churches Network reluctantly decided to cancel the 2018 Wyndham Carols By Candlelight because of a series of logistical issues.
“We know the community are very disappointed, just as we are, however the Wyndham Carols By Candlelight event will be back next year,” Pastor Venema said.
“Planning is already under way to make sure Wyndham Carols by Candlelight returns and is better than ever in 2019.”
But Wyndham resident Meghan Hopper said the Werribee Parks carols were “an important tradition in the Wyndham community”.
“Many of us attended with our families as infants and the event still forms an important part of our lives today,” she said.
Ms Hopper has started an online petition, calling on Wyndham council to “save” the carols.
She said while the council does not host the event, they could still step in to help community volunteers put on a festive show.
The petition asks for the council to support residents “by facilitating a community-led Carols by Candlelight”.
Last week, more than 120 people had signed the petition within five days.
Wyndham mayor Mia Shaw said that both she and her fellow councillors had been contacted a number of residents, about the Wyndham Carols by Candlelight not going ahead this year.
“This event is organised by the Combined Churches of Werribee and whilst it is not a council event, our staff reached out to the committee when we learned that it had been cancelled – the staff were advised that the carols were not going ahead due to planning issues and that the booking for Werribee Park had been cancelled,” Cr Shaw said.
“I understand that the community is really disappointed that we won’t have the Carols at Werribee Park this year and a petition is circulating calling for council to take over the running of the event.
“Obviously at this late stage, and with no venue booking, this wouldn’t be possible – however we really hope to see this fantastic event back in 2019 and will stay in touch with the organising committee to ensure they are supported.”
For details of the petition see www.megaphone.org.au/petitions/save-wyndham-carols-by-candlelight.