Mt Barker residents can breathe a sigh of relief – their much-loved Christmas Pageant is safe for another two years.
The biggest regional event of its kind was cancelled indefinitely by its organising committee in May after members discovered the sheds housing their floats and costumes were set to be bulldozed by the State Government to make way for a Park n Ride facility.
It was the final straw for the event, following years of uncertainty ever since the sheds were condemned by the Mt Barker Council in 2011.
It was great news then to learn that the Government had recognised the importance of the event and contributed $30,000 towards ensuring its short-term future, and that a temporary home for the floats has subsequently been found.
Credit must also be paid to the community leaders, local council and organising committee for working hard to find a solution over the past few months.
The responsibility now rests with the local community to ensure the longevity of the popular event.
If residents truly value the pageant and want to ensure it stays viable for generations to come, then now is the time to step up.
One of the dangers of living in a growing region such as Mt Barker is losing that valued sense of community.
It is events such as the Christmas pageant that make living in the Hills a bit more special, and as the town eventually becomes more and more suburban, these type of community-based events are at risk of being lost.
The pageant is a valuable leftover of the country town that Mt Barker used to be and it is something worth fighting for.
The Strathalbyn Collectors, Hobbies and Antique Fair continues to grow in stature and is becoming a firm favorite on the district’s tourism calendar.
Although last weekend’s fair was besieged by appalling weather, the format is excellent and the event is a real asset to the town and the local business community.
The determination of the organising committee to attract high profile antique celebrities – Tim Wonnacott from the TV show Antiques Roadshow and BBC Bargain Hunt in 2012 and Gordon Brown and Claudia Chan-Shaw from the ABC’s Collectors for this year’s event – has lifted the profile of the fair enormously.
The fair has further enhanced Strathalbyn’s reputation as an antique and tourist hub and shows the value in developing a point of difference in a very competitive national tourism market.