THE Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival will be remaining in Wingham, festival committee chairman Eric Richardson assures.
Following an article in last Friday's Manning River Times headed 'Bonnie Taree Scottish Festival?', chair of the Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival, Eric Richardson has offered a response.
The festival has had a number of enquiries since the article, which was the result of a conversation between the Times and member of the festival organising committee, Warwick Murray.
Mr Murray was seeking feedback regarding his proposal to have the events day of the popular festival run at Taree Park, as the new fencing around the park would allow the festival to charge an entry fee and generate more funds.
"It has come to the attention of the Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival Committee that one of our members has publicly declared his personal ideas in relation to fenced public areas (MRT May 14)," said Mr Richardson.
"While the fencing of the Johnny Martin Oval in Taree is a new initiative, it is not considered to be relevant to the annual Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival."
Mr Richardson also said the annual Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival Fair on Wingham Central Park attracts more than 5000 people to the area and advised that the organising committee has deliberately made entry to the fair free to all.
"This has been done to facilitate and encourage participation and access by the wider community," he said.
"The proposal by one person to move the fair to Taree and charge entry fees is not authorised or endorsed by the organising committee."
Mr Richardson added that the annual festival is held in Wingham because of the strong heritage roots of Scottish pioneers in the area.
"People of Wingham and the Upper Manning have embraced and supported this festival since its inception 10 years ago.
"The Wingham and Upper Manning community have justifiably taken 'ownership' of this festival," Mr Richardson continued.
"It belongs in Wingham and the Upper Manning."
Mr Richardson noted that the 5000 or so visitors also contribute considerably to the local economy, impacting positively on the entire local government area.
"For the past 10 years, the people of Wingham and the Upper Manning have chosen to celebrate and support the annual Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival. The community pride, involvement, and volunteer commitment to this event is not only special, it is also priceless," Mr Richardson said.
"We have a rich heritage in the Manning Valley and each area of the Manning has its own wonderful history.
"Be assured that all of the many Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival events will be remaining in Wingham," Mr Richardson concluded.