Armistice in Cambridge organisers have confirmed the 2020 event is a go – despite lockdown initially threatening its 21st addition.
November 7-8 dates for the event at Mighty River Domain at Lake Karapiro – a mainstay on the Cambridge calendar – have now been locked in.
Cambridge Armistice Committee chairman Paul Watkins said despite not knowing exactly how long lockdown would be in place, the decision was made by the 16-member committee to continue planning during that time anyway.
“And that seems to have been a call that was the right one,” he told the News.
Factored into the Armistice In Cambridge programme this year will be the fact it is the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII.
In years past, crowds of up to 5000 people have flocked to the event – which costs organisers somewhere in the region of $80,000 to stage.
Watkins said while some of the specifics of the 2020 programme are yet to be finalised, regulars like the annual re-enactment battles, which he said are always based on real battles, always prove to be a “massive draw card”.
As does the presence of about 100 military vehicles each year.
“There’s also an interesting trend we’re starting to notice – which wasn’t the case even 10 years ago.
“And that is that the amount of kids or young people attending is starting to out-number adults,” Watkins said.
That shift is being put down to increased emphasis on offering about 20 activities for kids – where, as competitions are heldacross various disciplines, the winners receive a special medal relating to that year’s overall Armistice In Cambridge theme.
“I think there’s really two main sectors that we appeal to – families and amateur enthusiasts.
“Each year we just aim to have a huge amount of fun.”
Armistice In Cambridge is now in its seventh year of being at Mighty River Domain – a shift Watkins said has been positive for the event.
“Not only is the venue huge but we can have a variety of military disciplines in one place – for example the lake is the very reason the navy can be there every year.”
Meanwhile, the five-year tenure of replica trench installed at the domain at a cost of $156,000 is coming to an end.
Watkins said the trench has been used as part of re-enactment battles since it was constructed in 2014, but 2020 will be the last year of its five-year resource consent.
And therefore the last time it can be used at Armistice In Cambridge.
Watkins said a decision about what might happen post-trench in terms of a replacement hadn’t been made yet.
“We will be thinking of that, but right now our main focus is holding the event first.”