Sydney Streets is back for another year, with residents and small business owners stressing just how important these events are to the community.

Originally used as a part of the local council’s Covid-19 community recovery plan, the six-week festival takes over six suburbs with free food, activities and events for all to enjoy.

The main streets in Haymarket, Glebe, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Pyrmont and Potts Point are shut for nine hours so residents and tourists can explore the neighbourhood.

For local business owners such as Anthony Macfarlane and Alfredo Perez, it’s a chance to remind people “that we’re here”.

“Every time we have one of these things, people are like ‘I’ve never been to Stanley Street’ and it brings in new people,” Mr Macfarlane told news.com.au.

“It significantly boosts our business. Revenue alone on the day make it one of the most important days of the year for us. Besides that, it brings a whole vibe to the street.

“Our staff love it, people remember us and people come back to us weeks and weeks afterwards. We’d hate the idea of it not happening ever again.”

It’s not just local businesses who value the festival, as nearby organisations such as the St Paul’s Sydney Lutheran Church joined in on the fun.

“Festivals like this are extremely important as people are often too busy working, don’t leave their house much, not mixing with their neighbours and it brings in people from other suburbs,” Pastor Richard Schwedes told news.com.au.

“It brings a lot of life around the place and it supports the cafés who are recovering from the pandemic.”

Sydney resident Sam Edmond and his wife Jenna love the free festival and enjoy taking their son Leo to.

“They’re really important as they get families out and is something for them to do,” Mr Edmond told news.com.au.

“Usually everyone heads for the beach so it’s kinda like celebrating those urban areas.

“We know these streets intimately and it’s events like this that draws us back.”

Earlier this year, the long running Newtown Festival announced it was no longer operating after 40 years.

The Newtown Neighbourhood Centre (NCC) said it was financial reasons as to why it was no longer happening.

“After years of careful consideration, which involved reviewing a number of possible funding scenarios and business cases, as well as community consultation, NNC’s board has made the decision to discontinue the festival,” the NCC said.

The Norton Street Italian Festa is another local street festival that has come under financial-hardships, as rising inflation pressures has made operating event costs soar.

These high costs include security, electricity and traffic management.

Seeing this, City of Sydney councillor Linda Scott told news.com.au that it broke her heart to see festivals like the Newtown Festival end.

“It’s so disappointing to see more and more local festivals, such as the Newtown Festival, being discontinued post Covid,” she said.

“I know just how challenging it is to run these magnificent events that communities and creatives celebrate, and the importance of the financial returns to these vital local not for profit community services.

“Our beloved Festivals, such as Newtown and Surry Hills festivals, are too iconic to lose.”

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By Rahul

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