Port Lincoln's Tunarama to go on in 2021

CHAMPIONS: Althea Mackie and Timothy Heyes were the Tuna Toss winners at the 2020 Tunarma Festival.
CHAMPIONS: Althea Mackie and Timothy Heyes were the Tuna Toss winners at the 2020 Tunarma Festival.

The Tunarama Committee is moving ahead with planning the 2021 Tunarama Festival in an event that will look a bit different to recent years.

The committee announced on Monday it has unanimously decided to move ahead with the festival in 2021, which will be across three days between Friday, January 22 and Sunday, January 24.

Tunarama president Sharon Humenick said Port Lincoln needed this event to happen given the uncertain times society was currently experiencing.

"Given many of us are doing it tough due to the impact of the virus, it's important to come out the other side with a celebration of the resilience of our community," she said.

A festival program has been created and is awaiting approval from health authorities, which the committee hopes to receive by the end of July.

Due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19 events that would include large crowds at this stage are unlikely to go ahead, including the fireworks, parade and free bands on the main stage.

These events could be put back on depending on advice and restrictions.

However traditional favourites including the tuna toss, slippery pole, stalls and rides would return with relevant restrictions and guidelines in place.

Incoming festival coordinator Jane Intini is working with Svana Franks on this year's festival and said she was excited for the challenge of helping to put together the upcoming festival during such a challenging time.

She said the committee was "really committed" to doing something for the community.

"We feel its vitally important to have a celebration at the start of the year," she said.

"There are some things that just won't happen because of COVID-19, but we feel doing something like this is better than doing nothing at all.

Ms Intini said she had no hesitation in accepting the opportunity to be coordinator when it came up earlier in the year.

She said the town always came alive in January and she could not wait to be part of the fun she loved when she was a kid.

Ms Intini is working alongside Ms Franks who, after three years as festival coordinator will serve in the role one last time for the 2021 Tunarama Festival.

"It was a difficult decision to make given how much respect I have for this community but it's time to move on to new adventures," she said.

South Australian Tourism Commission chief executive officer Rod Harrex welcomed the news and said Tunarama continued to be a vital event for Port Lincoln and South Australia.

The Tunarama Festival has continued to be a major attraction for Port Lincoln since the first festival in 1962.