David and I are doing absolutely nothing today after months of planning for our Grand Opening and River Music Fair, held last Sunday. The Fair itself went wonderfully well, although not without some anxious moments.
Last Thursday, with arrangements confirmed, the Development Application approved, the road graded, and a traffic control plan in place, I spent a leisurely afternoon with friends putting finishing touches to the garden.
Then on Friday with just one big task remaining – to give the lawn a final mow – Bemboka had its worst winds for years. The newly-laid mulch was swept away, leaving garden beds scoured, and much havoc was done to roofs in the village. I went out anyway and mowed, feeling like Buster Keaton in the hurricane scene from Steamboat Bill Jr.
During the day, we touched bases with fellow organisers Andrew and Jenny Szery, crossed our fingers for good weather on the day and went on with preparations. Andrew was bearing a double load, having to finish building the stage and set out the parking area as well as preparing for two sets on the day as lead singer of Jazz Train to Budapest.
By Saturday, the wind had started to abate and there was promise of fair weather again. First thing in the morning members of the Bemboka Garden Club arrived bearing buckets full of flowers and spent an industrious few hours creating arrangements for display in the gallery, using vases from the exhibition. (Click on the image on the left to see more photos of the arrangements.)
Our son James and his partner Monique came down from Canberra after lunch with two friends and I put them all to work on last minute preparations. With their help, there was even time for James and I to finish off the mowing before night fell.
The day itself dawned cool and clear with winds gusting from the south as marquees were erected, but later dying away. Stallholders and musicians arrived, trade goods were set out, sound systems tested, hoses coiled and put away. Cars came and parked. People got out carrying rugs and chairs. They toured the gallery, found places on the lawn, sat in the sun and listened to the wonderful music of Jazz Train to Budapest and Salvation Jane, partook of the food and drink offerings, admired the work of our guest artists and, all in all, seemed to be having a good time.
About 150 people were there on the day, counting the helpers and stallholders. Some had come for the house concert, some for the exhibition and others just to do exactly what we’d asked: to help us celebrate the coming of age of the gallery. I was extremely moved by the day and I think David was too.
People have asked me whether the River Music Fair might become an annual event and my answer is a guarded yes. Because we have just one exhibition a year, we might as well have a big event to open it. What shape it will take next year has still to be seen!
Thank you Monique for the photos!