One of the most popular festivals in Canberra is on the way back - but not until next February.
The ACT government has given up on its previous proposal of penciling in the National Multicultural Festival for later this year but decided that the event will return next February.
But the shape will depend on how the epidemic pans out.
The Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Tara Cheyne, said she hadn't completely ruled out ticketing, for example, though that would go against the crowded nature of the festival, which often attracts 200,000 people.
It would be hard to do and keep the atmosphere as Canberrans have come to know it.
She hadn't completely ruled out a dispersed festival in different locations either, "though that would be my last preference".
But the intention is to have the festival in its usual crowded and energised form.
That dispersal of an event was done for Floriade where 90 different community groups planted at 90 sites across the ACT.
The minister said Floriade was a more "passive" event in contrast to the Multicultural Festival, which she thought was "about people coming together and dance and food and drink".
The Liberal opposition criticised the government's decision to abandon the proposal for a festival in the second half of this year.
"It's disappointing that the annual Multicultural Festival has been cancelled this year," multicultural affairs spokeswoman Giulia Jones said.
"I think there was an opportunity for the ACT government to come up with a creative and safe alternative to the usual format that would have allowed us to celebrate our fantastic multicultural communities."
But the minister was unapologetic. "Developments regarding the pandemic over the last few months mean that a February, 2022 National Multicultural Festival is the most practical and achievable," Ms Cheyne said.
She thought it was important that people had complete confidence in the safety of the festival, so a delay until February would raise the chances of getting it absolutely right.
The organisers would learn from other events and watch how the epidemic develops - or, hopefully, doesn't develop.
The Enlighten Festival starts on February 26 and runs for 17 days but it has been adapted. The Symphony in the Park will be ticketed to control numbers and distances (though the tickets will be free).
The government hopes that in a year's time, the vaccines will have done their work and lessons will have been learnt so the Multicultural Festival can happen in something like its normal mode.
Some of the regulars at the festival welcomed the date for next year - February is when it is usually held - and understood the reason for not trying for an event later this year.
Paul Berger of the Harmonie German Club said, "We are happy for it to be written off this year but back on next year."
The club's stall is one of the ever-present stalwarts of the festival and the club has been involved for a quarter of a century. The 2022 event will be the 25th.
Last year, the club sold 400kg of sausage (2500 of them), 2500 pretzels and 60L of beer (a record) over the weekend .
The festival has grown since it began as a one-day event in 1981. Recent ones have had 450 stalls, representing every immigrant culture in the territory and beyond.
The event acts as a show-case for the cuisines of the world.
Chris Lander of the Spanish Australian Club of Canberra said, "With that size of event, all due caution has to be taken."