Autumn reaches new heights

KYLIE Farrell is still checking the numbers for the Autumn Festival, but two of them stand out.

15,000 people… that’s the first number she mentions.

“Rotary went into it thinking that 5,000 visitors would be a good target number,” says the organisation’s Derwent Valley president.

“As you know, by the halfway point, we’d exceeded 10,000 and by the end of the day, there’s every indication it topped 15,000 people. “So we’re ecstatic.

The Autumn Festival was a resounding success and we are over the moon with the result.” Kylie notes that the Park-N-Ride system to bring people to the Esplanade, worked well. “Three busses provided by Derwent Valley carrier O’Driscolls were a huge hit, and we need to thank them for that,” she says.

The Rotary president says she’s still getting feedback from stallholders about their experience and what worked for them. The Festival registered more than 150 in all.

“We heard in initial feedback that there were long lines, but they cleared quickly.” The layout of the Esplanade grounds, with live music at one end also worked well, and a variety of musiccatering to different audiences, proved to be what people wanted.

“The Derwent Valley Concert Band tofinish up, that was a real triumph,” she says. “Having a separate wet area – a section with the beer, wine, cider and spirit producers, necessary for permit reasons – was something new, and it worked well, I thought.

“However,” she adds, “there’s a sense we could use more of the lawn area so that people can sit, have adrink and take in the music as well.”She says Rotary was particularly happy with the response from beverage producers from here in the Valley. “It was a great turnout.”

Kylie says the feedback was that the Festival provided plenty of family friendly activities, too, with enough to keep kids entertained. She says Rotary’s 20 members on site were well supported by the activities of the Lions Club.

“What we’re realised is the need for volunteers in the first part of the day, to get set up, and late in the day to break it down.”The Rotary President herself began setting up at 5.45 am and finished just up just after 7 pm on the Sunday night. As highlights, she singles out the chopping carnival arranged by the Southern Tasmanian Axemen’s Association at one end of the grounds, and in the middle of the day, Laura Rittenhouse’s line dancing performance class, which drew dozens of people out of the crowd and onto the ‘floor.’

“Rotary offers a huge thank you to Hydro Tasmania, Norske Skog, Triple M Radio, Derwent Valley Council, Aurora Energy, Channel 7 Tasmania and the Derwent Valley Gazette,” she said.“These are the people who made this whole thing possible.”

There was one other figure that Kylie noted in her review of events from April 23, and for the entire Autumn Festival. “We recorded just one lost child for the day. That’s also an excellent number.”