Sports chief: Barrack for our towns
Regional sporting personality David Jennings has described developments surrounding a Good Friday football match between Ararat and Stawell as a major win for events culture across the Grampians.
Mr Jennings, Ararat Football Club president, said the match at Ararat’s Alexandra Oval and the Stawell Gift at Central Park provided perfect bookends for major attractions across the Easter break.
“The appearance of former AFL players in teams on Friday is a massive bonus and helps promote the whole region either side of the Great Dividing Range on the events map,” he said.
Former St Kilda star and national representative Leigh Montagna will play for Ararat in a one-off appearance and former Collingwood and Fremantle forward Jack Anthony has signed with Stawell.
“For many years Good Friday, despite being an important day on the Christian calendar, has for many represented little more than a simple day off,” Mr Jennings said.
“We’re confident we now have a pretty good formula that makes the most of the day, and the weekend in general, to the benefit of sporting, festival and activity lovers in our part of the world.”
Mr Jennings said organisations were working independently and collectively to feed off each other to offer alternatives to embrace Easter weekend opportunities. “Our club for example has identified a need to be front and centre when it comes to promoting not only our footy and netball club, but Ararat district in general,” he said.
“We’re determined to put Ararat at the forefront of what’s happening in the region and we know that Stawell Football Netball Club thinks the same way.
“We have the Stawell Gift, well established as an iconic event, combined with Stawell cup races, but it’s important that we don’t rest on these laurels as a region.
“It’s about giving people options and why we also gladly promote events such as the Great Western Rodeo, Moyston Easter Market, Willaura Family Fun Day, a Children’s Easter Celebration at Alexandra Oval on Sunday, Ararat pacing and trotting cups meeting and any other event that makes the most of the weekend opportunity.”
Stawell will also present its Main Street Sensation community event from 9am to 1pm on Easter Saturday, an event featuring a variety of family activities, demonstrations, performances and displays.
Stawell Biz and Northern Grampians Shire have organised the event to help businesses showcase Stawell as part of a big Easter weekend.
Mr Jennings said from his club’s point of view, the Easter weekend was all about the Good Friday football and netball fixture and a desire to draw people to Ararat for the occasion.
“We want people to come and enjoy the outstanding facilities and environs of Alexandra Oval and gardens,” he said.
“We have fantastic facilities that we can perhaps take for granted sometimes. It’s important that we exploit them when possible.
“We’re putting this on for the people of Ararat and district and the broader Grampians community. Both clubs have gone to great efforts to secure AFL players for this game in particular, which is the only match in the region for 150 kilometres, is the first encounter for the year for the Perc Bushby Cup and will be a ripper.
“As someone who has lived in Ararat all my life, it is obvious we need to barrack hard, not only for our footy teams, but also our towns, and this is a great opportunity.”