Dave catches up President of the Sports Carnival Association of Tasmania Mike Gunson,  who explains for the first time in history, the Burnie Athletic Club will be crowning two champions in every event in 2019.

After being known as the Burnie New Year’s Day Carnival for 132 years, the upcoming date has changed to New Year’s Eve.

It’s one of many changes for the 2019/2020 Tasmanian Christmas Carnival Series that will see an end to the criterium series and the re-introduction of a two-day Devonport Carnival.

Burnie Athletic Club President Ricky Aitken said the change was made following a healthy conversation at the clubs AGM last week.

“We acknowledge it’s a major break in tradition.  But we feel while the club is performing well at the moment, it’s the time to make structural changes like this to continually evolve.

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“With competition in the national calendar tight, this compresses the time needed for visiting athletes schedules.  It also drops the costs in keeping athletes here, so we can attract more for the same investment,” Aitken said.

While the change is only one day, Aitken said it was significant to households, given the iconic date.

“People are looking for something to do on New Year’s Eve.  We’re now giving people a chance to come and watch international level running, cycling and chopping, then stick around and see a top level band play.  It’s then a short stroll to Burnie’s Night on the Terrace, where people can continue into the night and enjoy the festivities.  Burnie will be a magical place to spend New Year’s Eve this year,” Aitken declared.

New series Cycling Manager and series Promoter, Richard Welsh, added that a research paper revealed the criteriums had run their course, which left options open with the dates the criterium’s usually filled.

“The Burnie New Year’s Eve criterium was the longest running and most prestigious of the three crits in the series.  However I interviewed over 30 key cycling people across the country and none of them said they come to Tasmania for the criteriums.  Which got us thinking we could return to our roots and focus on the club carnivals solely.  That in turn obviously freed up dates,” Welsh said.

A sharper focus on the seven carnival series will allow deeper investment in the traditional strengths of the series.

The 2019/2020 Tasmanian Christmas Carnival series has now been confirmed with the following dates;

  • Rosebery – Saturday 21 December
  • Launceston – Friday 27 December
  • Latrobe – Saturday 28 December
  • Devonport – Sunday 29 and Monday 30 December
  • Burnie – Tuesday 31 December
  • Hobart – Sunday 5 January
  • St Helens – Saturday 18 January

President of the Sports Carnival Association of Tasmania Mike Gunson, said the new look series was exciting, with a mixture of changing and returning traditions.

“We will now have 5 straight days of pure carnival action and that is what the series is traditionally about.  Launceston on a Friday night is perfect for locals to head up to the Silverdome, before spending Saturday afternoon at Latrobe.  Devonport returning to two-days provides people an option to attend one or both days, before attending a new party style atmosphere in Burnie on New Year’s Eve,” Gunson said.

Rosebery, Hobart Bikes and Spikes and St Helens will remain in their traditional dates, making the series span being four weeks once again.