Parents left organisers in no doubt of their anger when a much-loved Easter bunny event was cancelled after a threat of legal action.
And feelings are still running high, even though organisers are planning to stage an alternative kids’ event all next week in the centre of Garstang.
The Independent Garstang Traders group blamed an un-named business for the decision to call off their annual Bonnets and Bunnies event on Saturday April 20. They claimed a planned two-hour road closure had prompted one shop to warn it could sue for loss of trade.
The group took to Facebook to say: “We’re very sorry to have to cancel the Bonnets and Bunnies event.
“We’re a small business community that generally work together and support each other really well. A very small group of people work really hard for our town and try to help our high street community thrive.
“The Bonnets and Bunnies event has grown year on year and is loved by families all over. However, we’re unable to continue this year after we have been threatened with legal action by a business if we continued with the planned road closure.
“Closure is required for safety grounds, given the number of children that attend. We have to put safety first.”
The announcement brought a flood of complaints, many accusing the business of being mean-spirited and putting profit before the enjoyment of hundreds of youngsters.
“How incredibly sad,” said Rachael Gornall. “It’s events like this that make our community what it is. I admire your diplomacy in not naming and shaming, but as a resident of Garstang I do not care to give my support to a business that does not care to support its community.”
Another, Sandra Perkins, said: “I didn’t think we had such people in Garstang who would threaten legal action to the organisers of such a well-loved event. Totally and utterly shameful.”
Sheridan Wilkinson added: “Thank you very much to the local business who has ruined a fantastically run event for the children of Garstang.”
And Sylvia Wilding commented: “I can’t understand how anyone could live with themselves after disappointing so many children.”
The traders refused to identify the business, saying: “We think it would be very unfair.”
Three days after the cancellation they issued another statement announcing they had come up with an alternative event - the Garstang Bonnets and Bunnies Hopping Mad Easter Hunt which will run from this Saturday through to the following Saturday.
Children will be invited to search in shop and business windows around the town centre for carrots which the Easter Bunny has lost. Three Easter hampers are being offered as prizes.
The traders announced on their Facebook page: “This is an alternative event whuch runs over the whole week.”
The group declined to comment further.