Banjo story to be continued

THE Banjo Paterson Festival is here to stay with organisers declaring the event an “outstanding success”.

The 10 day festival ran from February 7 to 17 with good crowd numbers at many events and a number sold out.

An estimated 2500 people attended the night market on February 7, around 50 to 60 each morning for breakfast and poetry in Robertson Park and Jack Thompson’s Australian Poem session was also a sell-out.

Banjo Paterson Festival Committee chair Len Banks said he was happy with the extra numbers of visitors who came to Orange.

“I came across people from Queensland, Victoria and Sydney and they’d come specifically for the festival,” he said.

Orange  mayor John Davis said the festival “went down absolutely fantastically”.

“I don’t think it could have been any better,” he said.

While the festival marked the 150th birthday of the bush bard Cr Davis said “it’s not tied to just the birthday it’s the time around Banjo’s life”.

He said committee members can now “expand the Banjo story” in the future for the annual festival.

“I think it could be bigger and better, you’ve got the name an you can build on that solid foundation,” he said.

This was the first Taste Orange festival organised by a number of groups working together.

Taste Orange chief executive officer Rhonda Sear said they usually work with volunteers for their other festivals throughout the year.

“Some of those groups have never been involved in a major event before,” she said.

“It was absolutely fantastic, it showed just what Orange is capable of when working together.”

Only one event was cancelled throughout the festival due to a lack of numbers - the Wallis and Matilda dinner concert on Saturday, February 15.

While the Lake Canobolas dragon boating was cancelled due to lack of water in the lake and a family fun day at Emmaville Cottage was rained out.

The Banjo Paterson Festival committee included representatives from Taste Orange, Rotary Club of Orange, Orange and District Historical Society, Yeoval Historical Society, Millamolong Polo Club, Cabonne and Orange councils, ABC and member for Orange Andrew Gee.

Next year’s Banjo Paterson Festival will be held from February 12 to 17.

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