This week saw the announcement by the organisers of HuntFest Narooma that they have made the decision to hand back their event licence to Council having successfully staged the event in Narooma for the last seven years. HuntFest offered an event that covered hunting, outdoors and photographic expo held each June long weekend with a host of suppliers and exhibitors making the trip to the South Coast from across the country to show case their wares and activities. While the licence had been extended through to 2023 the organisers made a financial decision to end the event on a high note that has bought many visitors to the area, availed a long weekend event for the town and contributed over $20,000 back into the community via donations. South Coast Hunters Club president Dan Field told the Beagle that when the event was first organised there were only two such annual events however now there were nine and as exhibitors were naturally drawn to more major events it was inevitable that it was going to be more difficult to compete for the specialised and limited amount of exhibitors looking to better market opportunities. While disappointed that the HuntFest had come to an end Mr Field said he and his co-organisers had enjoyed hosting the event and bringing such an event to the coast to find it was well supported and that it gave back to the community offering something to do in an otherwise empty Narooma Leisure Centre on a long weekend. While the Huntfest event has now closed its doors Mr Field said that he and his fellow South Coast Hunters Club members have other ideas to explore that they are working on. It is not known why the Eurobodalla Council failed to reveal that the licence had been turned in six weeks ago. The revelation only came to light after Councillor McGinlay secured permission to make the following statement on Saturday "the owners of the licence to conduct the Huntfest event have handed back their licence for this and future years and it is now open for other parties to apply to run events in future years at the venue in question, should they seek a licence to do so by the usual process”. With the licence now availbale for another event it will be interesting to see if those who protested the HuntFest now step in and organise an annual community event the likes of the HuntFest that, whilst unfavourable to some, bought interest, revenue and community benefit in an otherwise empty June long weekend.
Photo: HuntFest organiser Roy Jenkins at the 2017 annual Narooma "Huntfest"