Rock­ers take over Ararat streets

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY COLIN MACGIL­LIVRAY

Or­gan­is­ers of Ararat Jail­house Rock Fes­ti­val be­lieve the event, which cel­e­brated its 25th birth­day in style at the week­end, has a bright fu­ture.

The fes­ti­val was hosted in Ararat’s main street for the first time in three years af­ter be­ing forced onto Alexan­dra Oval in 2017 and 2018 be­cause of the Ararat Town Hall re­de­vel­op­ment.

The fes­ti­val, which cel­e­brates 1950s rock ’n’ roll cul­ture, kicked off with a mo­tor­sport pa­rade along Barkly Street and a bar­be­cue out­side the town hall on Fri­day af­ter­noon, with mu­sic and danc­ing at Ararat RSL on Fri­day night.

Grampians Vin­tage Car Club hosted a car show and street party on Satur­day, with 1950s style dances at the town hall and Alexan­dra Hall on Satur­day night.

Fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers hosted a fash­ion pa­rade on Sun­day, where at­ten­dees voted for the ‘king’ and ‘queen’ of the fes­ti­val.

Fes­ti­val pres­i­dent Greg Dal­mayer said the re­turn to the streets had been an enor­mous suc­cess.

“It brought a lot of peo­ple into the street, both lo­cals and trav­ellers alike,” he said.

“Just the car show on its own brought a lot of in­ter­est, so we’re keen to get a show and shine up and run­ning again.

“Af­ter it fin­ished we put a poll on Face­book just to see what the re­sponse was.

“In the first half-hour we had 50 re­sponses and 48 of those said they wanted a show and shine back in the street next year.

“Next year we’ll look at get­ting a tro­phy for the best car and that sort of thing.”

Mr Dal­mayer said the fes­ti­val could con­tinue to thrive well into the fu­ture if the week­end was any in­di­ca­tion.

“I think there’s a pretty bright fu­ture ahead for the event,” he said.

“Ba­si­cally ev­ery­one left say­ing, ‘we’ll see you next year, great show’.

“Peo­ple all seemed to think it was a great event, which was re­ally good for us.

“It’s much bet­ter hav­ing peo­ple walk­ing away say­ing they en­joyed it and they’re com­ing back rather than say­ing you got it wrong and they’re never com­ing back.”

Mr Dal­mayer said Ararat’s packed ac­com­mo­da­tion dur­ing the week­end showed the event was a big draw­card for the re­gion.

“There was no ac­com­mo­da­tion left in the town – ev­ery­thing was booked out,” he said.

“One of the mer­chants that came for the week­end had to go to Stawell for ac­com­mo­da­tion, so that gives a fair in­di­ca­tion that there was noth­ing left.”

Mr Dal­mayer said or­gan­is­ers would con­tinue to as­sess the needs of the fes­ti­val and its pa­trons to con­tinue im­prov­ing the event.

“You’ll al­ways get some ar­gu­ment about whether it would be bet­ter hav­ing it at the top end or the bot­tom end of the street, but I’m fairly happy with where it was,” he said.

“If we felt like we were go­ing to get over­loaded we would look at us­ing other parts of the street.

“It’s small steps, be­cause it’s in a bit of a re­build­ing phase.”

CEL­E­BRA­TION: He­len An­drews and Ja­nine Smith cel­e­brate Ararat’s 25th Jail­house Rock Fes­ti­val. Pic­tures: PAUL CAR­RACHER

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