Com­mu­nity drives vil­lage fes­ti­val

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY SARAH SCULLY

The Great West­ern com­mu­nity has joined forces to at­tract peo­ple to the town for the Australia Day long week­end as part of a longer-term strat­egy to en­sure the his­toric wine vil­lage’s pros­per­ity.

Great West­ern Rac­ing and Recre­ation Re­serve com­mit­tee mem­ber Wendy Cairns said the com­mu­nity had re­sponded to a call to ac­tion, in spades.

“With the Fri­day pub­lic hol­i­day and our race day on the Sun­day I saw an op­por­tu­nity to try to do some­thing to get peo­ple to stay in the town for the long week­end,” she said.

“I asked the com­mu­nity if we could get some­thing to­gether for the Satur­day and had a won­der­ful re­sponse.

“Com­mu­nity and busi­ness mem­bers have joined forces to cre­ate a one-stop shop for the three days.”

A new Un­der the Pines – Mu­sic Fes­ti­val on Jan­uary 26 will kick off a range of events planned for the week­end, which also fea­tures the an­nual Sep­pelt Great West­ern Cup on the Sun­day.

“The fes­ti­val will be set un­der the cover of pine trees at our beau­ti­ful recre­ation re­serve,” Mrs Cairns said.

“We’re hop­ing to con­tinue it for an­other two years af­ter this one, but of course it all de­pends on how this first one goes.”

The fes­ti­val will fea­ture three acts, Orange Whip, Plas­tered and Jimmy Cup­ples, from 4pm to 10.15pm.

Mrs Cairns said the week­end had gen­er­ated a sig­nif­i­cant amount of ex­cite­ment within the com­mu­nity and would pro­vide a great boost for busi­nesses.

“So far the re­sponse from prospec­tive pa­trons has been super good,” she said.

“We’ve got a lot of peo­ple in­ter­ested in free camp­ing at the recre­ation re­serve. We’ve got campers booked in al­ready.

“Ac­com­mo­da­tion in the area is start­ing to book out. The week­end is look­ing very promis­ing.”

For every­one

Mrs Cairns en­cour­aged Wim­mera res­i­dents and vis­i­tors to make the most of the ac­tiv­i­ties and at­mos­phere on of­fer.

“Every­one is do­ing some­thing. There will be a show and shine in the main street on Satur­day morn­ing, along with a street party that will fea­ture a fes­tive at­mos­phere com­plete with buskers and places to eat and shop,” she said.

“Sep­pelt is host­ing a free open-air cin­ema on the Satur­day night, along with a ‘dine deep’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the win­ery’s un­der­ground cel­lars.”

Mrs Cairns said the week­end would also fea­ture a mar­ket, art ex­hi­bi­tion, live mu­sic and deals from the re­gion’s winer­ies.

She said a free hop on, hop off bus would com­plete cir­cuits of the town on the Satur­day.

“It will in­clude stops at Best’s, Grampians Es­tate and Sep­pelt winer­ies along with the main street and the recre­ation re­serve,” she said.

“That way peo­ple will be able to ex­pe­ri­ence a bit of ev­ery­thing with­out hav­ing to worry about driv­ing any­where.”

The recre­ation re­serve com­mit­tee and Great West­ern Rac­ing Club have each pro­vided fund­ing of $5000 for the week­end.

North­ern Grampians Shire Coun­cil has sup­ported the project through a $2500 com­mu­nity grant.

Mrs Cairns said the Great West­ern Fu­ture Com­mit­tee also sup­ported the week­end.

The com­mit­tee is work­ing off an of­fi­cial coun­cil plan, which stemmed from a need for res­i­dents to pre­pare for a fu­ture West­ern High­way by­pass of the town.

“Ini­tially with the long week­end plans we wanted to build num­bers for our race day, but our over­all aim is to re­mind peo­ple that Great West­ern can be a great hol­i­day destination,” Mrs Cairns said.

“We’ve been boost­ing our camp­ing in­fra­struc­ture at the race­course re­serve for sev­eral years.

“It’s a great place for a stopover. Peo­ple of­ten come and camp and spend a day in the Grampians and a day tour­ing the winer­ies.

“We’re try­ing to build up the town for when the by­pass hap­pens and to make sure we get no­ticed.”

Peo­ple can search www.un­der-thep­ines-greatwest­ern.com for more in­for­ma­tion about the mu­sic fes­ti­val.

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