Port Lincoln Times

A big thanks to all Tunarama festival supportersAdvertising Feature

Parade: Sharon Humenick, Paris Dickson and Jan Regan wave to the crowd in the parade during the last Bendigo Bank Tunarama Festival in 2020. Photo: Supplied

Another Australia Day has come to pass without Tunarama and the devastated committee would like to thank everyone who tried to make it possible.

Tunarama coordinator Jane Intini described the decision as "heartbreaking" and said events being cancelled due to capacity limits and travel restrictions had contributed to the decision being made.

Jane said there were critical windows to work around when planning an event of this scale, and for the past two years, these windows were hit significantly by COVID-19.

"It was terrible for everyone," she said.

"I don't think we had any choice. We could have done a few bits and pieces but it was no longer going to be Tunarama. It's really sad to go a second year without an event. Tunarama is an extraordinary part of the social history of the region, it's been going for 60 years, it's part of the fabric of this community and it's very important to keep it going."

Jane and the rest of the committee would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who tried so hard to make this event go ahead.

"We would like to thank our Government event partners, the South Australian Tourism Commission and the Port Lincoln City Council, who gave us some small grants to help with really specific aspects of the festival," she said.

"We would like to thank our naming rights sponsor Bendigo Bank Port Lincoln who has stood by us right through this horror stretch that we have had and who have been our major sponsor before that. They have just been terrific. I'd like to thank Helping Hand specifically for the Ambassador Quest which was able to come to fruition. We would also like to congratulate Karen Fiegert as the 2022 Tunarama Ambassador and Rachel Vella who was named the highest fundraiser for the Ambassador Quest."

"Even though we weren't able to have a big public event at least these women who raised more than $80,000 collectively for local charities were recognised. A big thank you to the hard work of those entrants and to the Quest coordinator Hazel Manning who did a really good job pulling all that together."

Unique event: Port Lincoln mayor, Brad Flaherty, taking part in the Tuna Toss. Photo: Supplied

"I would like to thank all the sponsors, large and small for investing in something. I would like to thank our volunteers and committee, for continuing to show up and the community at large for their incredible understanding of why we had to do what we did."

"I need to thank our president Sharon Humenick who has steered the ship in the right direction for the past five years. Sharon's knowledge, calm disposition and patience have been just what we needed through this really difficult time."

Recently named Port Lincoln City Council's 2022 Citizen of the Year, Sharon lives and breathes Tunarama.

"We are heartbroken," she said.

"Thousands of hours that went into making the 2022 festival, from staff and volunteers alike, had to be put aside for the second year running. Every year Tunarama swells the population of Port Lincoln by around 15,000, generating more than $3 million into the local economy and creating jobs."

"Our Tuna Toss is world renown and puts Port Lincoln on the map."

"Each year the Ambassador Quest raises much-needed funds for local charities. There have been so many quest entrants who have gone onto bigger and better things and attribute skills learnt during their quest journey to those successes."

"We need this festival in Port Lincoln, it needs to turn 60 and beyond. It is so important seeing a community come together celebrating local industries and businesses. Happy faces are why we do what we do."

The committee is hopeful Tunarama will be able to go ahead in 2023, if you would like to help them work towards it you can get involved.