The Coomealla Club at Dareton has cancelled its annual Christmas family picnic because it has been unable to secure attractions for the children who attend.

Secretary Manager Craig Muir said the Board of the Club had decided that because it was not possible to get small rides which have become one of the mainstays for the young children, this years picnic which was scheduled for this weekend will not be held.

“We had sourced in previous year’s pony rides, merry go round and other attractions from a local woman but the rising insurance costs and regulations has resulted in this form of kids entertainment being unviable for a small operator,” Mr Muir said.

“We tried to find a similar operator of these small rides at Swan Hill and Renmark but with no joy.”

“We even asked around Adelaide but was told that most of the rides around are already engaged on a show circuit and the cost of coming to Dareton for a one-off would be just too much.”

Mr Muir said the Board felt that having a jumping castle, face painting, running races and a visit by Santa on the Fire Truck was not enough for the age group who have been coming along to the Christmas picnics.”

“We had things for those above say eight or nine, but nothing for those younger and that was the concern.”

He said the original idea of a Christmas picnic for members began at the Dareton Oval in the 1980’s and t the time alcohol was provided for adults and it attracted thousands.

“In the early nineties the event was transferred to the Golf Course and became more orientated to family entertainment,” Mr Muir said.

At one stage we were getting around 500 adults and 500 children while in more recent years it has been in the mark of 250 adults and 250 children.”

“The attendance would fluctuate a little according to the weather conditions at the time.”

Mr Muir said the cost of running the picnic was around $11,000 and was partly funded through the Coomealla Club Social Club which secured its base funding from a regular percentage of Friday night raffle proceeds.

He said the Board had not scrapped the picnic indefinitely but would continue to work towards sourcing suitable kids entertainment again next year.

“When it first started at the Dareton Oval we had all kinds of foot races – sack races, three legged races but things have changed a bit now,” he said.