National conference to set wheel rolling
SPENDING in Wangaratta is tipped to soar significantly with the city’s hosting of the Australian Inner Wheel Conference from October 21 to October 25.
Between 500 and 600 people, mainly women, from across Australia and New Zealand are expected to attend the conference which is the first event to be booked in the new Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre.
The women’s organisation, Inner Wheel, has its origins in the wives of Rotarians from Liverpool, England, helping their men during World War I.
Today its focus is friendship and service and its network of clubs have helped many in the community through personal service and support of larger projects such as fundraising for cord blood research in Australia.
Conference co-ordinator, Patti Stafford, who is a District A61 council member and past district chairman, said Wangaratta and district traders and tourism operators would reap big rewards from attendees’ accommodation bookings, shopping, wining and dining, and touring around the region.
“These ladies shop till they drop,” Mrs Stafford said with a smile.
“I would like to see traders stay open later, especially on Saturday. That will be their opportunity.
“Most will arrive on the Wednesday.
“We’re expecting 300 on the first night.
“It’s going to be great for traders.
“Traders are really going to benefit.”
Mrs Stafford said the lay-out of the new performing arts centre, with its auditorium and function centre, and its convenient location were ideal for the convention.
“The plan has made it so easy and most of the ladies can walk to the performing arts centre.
“The accommodation houses are so close, we’ll only be shuttling from the outside ones.”
The convention program includes a four course degustation meal and tastings from the region on Wednesday.
“Thursday is the opening ceremony where all the district banners will be presented to the Australian president.
“We’re hoping to have the world president come out from Great Britain.”
There will be forums, a gala dinner sponsored by Granite Range Estate, a friendship dinner sponsored by King River Estate Wines, dining out, shopping and touring time, and a farewell breakfast at The Gateway.
Mrs Stafford said local support for the event had been tremendous to date.
“Everyone has been so helpful and so co-operative,” she said.
“The rural city has been fantastic and Business Wangaratta has gone overboard.
“Wangaratta is just opening up its heart.”
PLANS COME TOGETHER: The Australian Inner Wheel Conference is the first event to be booked for the new Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre and Inner Wheel conference registration officer, Elaine Sewell, secretary Brenda Joyce and coordinator Patti Stafford have been eagerly looking over centre plans with site manager, David Fry.