Storytime theme a hit for festival
Organising committee president Vin Bibby said the “Story Time” themed festival “went really well”.
A highlight of the 10-day program packed with almost 30 events was the traditional street parade on Saturday.
Held in sunshine along a new route in Young St, Mr Bibby said it was “very successful” with “the new route proving a winner, especially from an operations point of view”.
While it was difficult to estimate the crowd lining the street to view the parade of schools, community groups and emergency services embracing the Story Time theme, Mr Bibby believed it to be around 2500 people.
“The crowd visibility was enhanced by the elevated viewing areas,” he added.
Another 1000 people packed into Civic Park for the Party in the Park, open-air cinema and fireworks following the 5pm parade.
“I’ve never seen so many people in Civic Park,” said Mr Bibby. “The movie was sensational.”
The inaugural BMX competition certainly impressed with amazing tricks on display for a crowd in the hundreds on Saturday night.
“It was very professionally done,” said Mr Bibby. It also helped attract the youth demographic to join the festival.
The public was given “a big hug” from the committee for its appreciation of activities staged on Saturday as well as keeping the site relatively clean.
Mr Bibby said the rubbish clean-up was minimal and also thanked the terrific cooperation from Baw Baw Shire over the course of the festival.
The art show was well received with a large crowd on hand for Thursday’s opening night and the announcement of Rhonda Gray’s oil painting “The Sound of Silence” as best in show.
Baw Baw Arts Alliance president and art show director Kaye Lancaster, along with co-judge Janice Orchard, praised the quality of work, with primary school exhibits featured in the exhibition for the first time.
Laurel Foenander won best work by a Baw Baw resident while Max Brown won the first best young artist in show (primary student) and Aidan Weichard won an acquisition award.
Other winners included Scarlett Daly for best exhibit by a secondary student; David Doyle for best small work; Margaret Koopmans for best still life; Dot Thorne for best mosaic; Keltie Mullin for best print; Diana Wilson for best sporting exhibit; Zoe Stavris for photography; Kay Lancashire for wearable art; Elisabeth Smoorenburg for best 3D; Rhonda Gray for best portrait and Bob Hickman for best land or seascape.
The 14th Ficfest poetry night at the Old Drouin Butter Factory on Friday offered plenty of variety to keep the audience enthralled right up to the last minute.
Winner of the open mic out of five contenders was Kelvin Wilson.
Geoffrey Graham was MC and star of the show.
The Baw Baw Poetry Group, local poet Jim Connelly and musical acts all took part. Informative walks and talks were also a hit. The “Stories of Drouin” crowd of some 70 people exceeded expectations at the Drouin Library.
A large group of walkers were surprised and delighted at the wealth of open spaces, remanent and planted trees and birdlife that makes Drouin so special during the tree and nature walk. It was hosted by the Friends of Drouin’s Trees.
The scarecrow trail attracted many entries with Bizzy Butterflies Playgroup taking out best in show and the people’s choice.
Mr Bibby said the 10-day festival “all seemed to go off alright to me”.
He said the high crowd numbers on Saturday could be attributed to the perfect weather conditions.
In contrast, Mr Bibby said the “Music for the People” concert held on Sunday in wet weather only attracted about 100 people despite the high quality of acts.
“Really that concert yesterday was just terrific,” he said.
He singled out the Baw Baw Singers and Mawarra Choir for their outstanding performances.
The only disappointment from the festival was the low crowd at the opening function.
“It’s something the committee will seriously look at in future,” said Mr Bibby.
Cailean Thomas enjoyed taking his go cart in the parade with his fellow cub/scouts. More photographs p 24-25.