Forbes was a hive of activity last week with the 2015 Kalari River Arts Festival. The biennial community celebration provided a variety of activities over three days at various locations and did not disappoint.
Thursday night, the Forbes Golf and Sportsman’s Hotel hosted the first official function for the event with the Sir Francis Forbes Dinner. Guest speaker, Rob Willis, gave an enlightening presentation on Forbes and guests were entertained by local performers including Barbara Bruce, Luke & Erica Byrne, Last Call and Forbes Dancers.
Peter Ashcroft and his team catered the dinner and the organisers were blown away with the menu. Guest speaker, Elizabeth Rogers (CEO of Regional Arts NSW) shared her knowledge at the Regional Arts Symposium on Friday
before the Kate Kelly Exhibition was opened at McFeeters Motor Museum. The Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre then took the spotlight with the amazing Welcome to Country ceremony.
Children from all of our local schools came together, and although nervous, delighted crowds with their cultural performances. The Festival was officially opened on Saturday morning by Member for Orange, Andrew Gee. Mr Gee was excited by the program and expressed the importance of arts and culture to local communities.
All three areas, Arts Alley, Zen Zone & Frog Hollow provided non-stop entertainment and activities throughout the day which culminated in the Grand Finale Spectacular featuring a Combined Regional Choir, River Arts Big Drums, Dancers, Bedgerabong School Merimbas and Magical Lantern Parade complete with the incredible Brolga and Crane Lanterns circling the sky above. The weather, although threatening, held off for the weekend ensuring the success of the event.
Vice President and Artistic Director, Rosalie Burns, was pleased with attendance figures estimated to be in the vicinity of 5000. This data will now give the committee increased opportunities to access funding for future event. Rosalie was grateful to the amazing festival committee and the many volunteers for the phenomenal effort they gave to make the event so memorable.
The committee have earned a well-deserved break but will soon be commencing plans for the 2017 event.