Night market one of the stars of Banjo festival

THE popularity of Friday night’s Banjo Paterson Festival night market is a good indication the festival is here to stay, says committee chairperson Len Banks. 

For the first time the annual Slow Summer festival was re-branded as the Banjo Paterson Festival in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the poet’s birthday. 

About 2500 people attended the night markets but the numbers did not reach the same levels as the Orange Wine Week and FOOD Week night markets, where about 5000 people usually attend, perhaps because the market was not yet as widely known, Mr Banks said. 

“It was a great start to the Banjo Paterson Festival,” he said.

“It had a real country feel with hay bales and [singer Gabe Middleton] played Waltzing Matilda.”

There was plenty for all ages with the region’s best wines to taste, along with samples of the region’s produce and activities for children such as horse painting.

Millamolong Polo Club brought over “natty little ponies that were nice, and smooth, and sleek” to entertain children for hours.

Banjo fact: His first book of poetry called The Man From Snowy River, and Other Verses included classics such as Clancy of the Overflow, The Geebung Polo Club, The Man from Ironbark, How the Favourite Beat Us and Saltbush Bill.

Mr Banks said there was face painting and children had a ball dancing along to the sweet sounds of Gabe Middleton.

“Children dipped their hands in paint and could put their hand print on the horses,” he said.

“The little white horses were very colourful after that.”

The polo club brought its steel pony for guests to have a crack at their own “style of playing polo [which] was irregular and rash” and was the cause of a lot of good laughs, Mr Banks said. 

He could not be more grateful the weather was perfect and it seemed all who came, left happy. 

“It’s a good time of the year to have a night market because it’s still light by the time everyone is heading home and it started nice and early at 5 so that was good.”

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

GALLERY: NIGHT MARKETS IN ROBERTSON PARK

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