GALA NIGHT FUN & FESTIVITIES

Published: Tuesday, 18 December 2018 at 3:49:37 PM

Gala Night 2018 (if you didn’t already know) is all about shopping local. On Thursday, 13 December, Merredin locals took to the street to support this event which supports local businesses. The crowd numbered around 4-500 people with family friendly activities and stalls everywhere you looked along Barrack and Bates Street.

The day itself dawned warm and sultry with temperatures reaching 33°C and the heat continuing to linger well into the evening. The crowd was slow to wander in but as the sun set all at once the crowd thickened, the lights came into effect and a great big fire truck bearing the man in red himself, Santa Claus, came rolling down Barrack St to stop in front of the Visitor Centre. Children of all ages were waiting for Santa and his sack of pressies and they eagerly mobbed him the moment he alighted from the fire truck with his helpful lady elf in tow.

The local business stalls and amusements for 2018 numbered 32. They ranged from food stalls with hamburgers, slushies, popcorn and fairy floss to a big Ferris wheel and slide, fire and ambulance demonstrations and product stalls selling everything from silly string and coloured hairspray to trinkets, honey, cakes and a whole range of different items. There were donkey rides, cheeky elves to be found hiding around the place, a petting zoo with all sorts of animals, chalk to draw pictures with on the road opposite Westpac, face painting and rides to be had on the Men’s Shed train which puttered up and down Barrack Street all evening. Merredin College Choir (led by Caryn Adamson) led the crowd through several Christmas carols and outside of Ashpash there was a fabulous fashion parade followed by a performance by the Rural Dance Group.  

A series of raffles and prizes were also up for grabs at the many different stalls and open businesses. The business/community organisation raffles numbered at least 24 with mixed goodie baskets, vouchers, cooler bags and other items won. IGA ran a colouring competition with 0-5 years taken out by Stevie Axford, 6-10 years by Jorja Cahill and 10+ years by Lilly Wall. The ‘Where’s Rudy’ competition organised by the Shire was won by Mitchell O’Neill and the ‘Where’s the Elves’ competition was won by Jordan Hassack. A very big congratulations to all of the many winners!

Overall it was a night of joyous atmosphere and so much fun and as always, community events on the scale of Gala Night do not come into being without a very large group of volunteers and keen community members behind them. Thank you very much to the working group committee members which were Mike Dorizzi, Asha Carr, Jude Morton and Tracey Mcfarlane. They continually strove to make Gala Night 2018 the best it could possibly be.

Other ‘thank yous’ must be expressed to CBH for supporting the event by loaning 3 lighting towers and the SES team for loaning one as well. Thank you to the Ambulance service for volunteering their time and resources and to Rob Endersbee and the Merredin Army Cadets for their assistance with setting up, monitoring the event and packing away. Thank you also to the Men’s Shed for operating train rides (a huge hit with the kids) throughout the evening and Merredin Fire & Rescue Service for picking Santa up from the North Pole and delivering him all the way to Merredin!

Although the Shire does not like to ‘blow its own trumpet’ there are always a number of staff members every year who work very hard in the background to put on this event for the community. Even though the Shire has stepped back for 2018 the staff from the Community Development Team (in particular) still contributed many hours to this event. Namely this included setting up and packing up, liaison with the various community and business groups involved as well as advertising of the event and production of the program and map for the stalls and amusements.

Thank you to Justin Freind (Cummins Theatre) for making us all laugh with his comedic MC style and to Kellie Bartley (Deputy CEO/Executive Manager Community Development) for helping every child prepare their Christmas list before meeting Santa.

Thank you also to Hannah Martin (Community Liaison Officer) and Adim Hajat (outgoing Community Liaison Officer). Adim is leaving the Shire in January so an extra thank you to him for a whole year’s worth of brightening up Merredin’s community events. He will be very sadly missed. 

Finally a big thank you to fellow sponsors Collgar Windfarm and Lotterywest whose sponsorship ensured that Gala Night 2018 would be a big success. We can’t wait to do it all again in 2019.

 

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