Wondai’s Coronation Park was packed to capacity on Saturday for the inaugural Wondai Country Festival, and it stayed that way for most of the day.
More than a dozen caravans lined the nearby short-stay caravan parking area, and the newly sealed South Burnett Rail Trail was abuzz with walkers, runners and cyclists taking part in the Festival’s athletic events.
Shoppers could happily browse a bigger-than-usual Wondai Markets for bargains, or relax in front of the Percy Iszlaub Sound Shell for a day of free entertainment that included everything from live music to line dancing and a display of whip-cracking.
Cilla Slack’s Blue Gum Farm TV Show provided entertainment for the children, as did the jumping castles and face painting.
Durong Dingo Sanctuary’s dingoes also proved very popular.
In the afternoon, a Slim Dusty Tribute Concert at the Wondai Town Hall capped everything off, drawing a crowd of more than 100 for a trip down memory lane.
The Country Festival is the brainchild of Wondai Regional Art Gallery curator Elaine Madill, who attended an events workshop last year to get expert advice about how to put on a fun public event.
From there, assisted by a team of Gallery volunteers, the Country Festival began to take shape.
“We wanted to put on something that was inexpensive for families and would offer something for everyone,” Elaine said.
“The advice I had was to start out small and let things build naturally over time, so we used our Wondai Markets as the Festival’s core and things quickly snowballed from that.”
Cr Ros Heit, who helped start the Wondai parkrun group, put up her hand to help organise the Festival’s Fun Run, Fun Walk and Fun Ride.
CROW-FM station manager Chris “Corky” Corcoran volunteered to be compere, and entertainers and local school and community groups also put up their hands to help.
The South Burnett Regional Council also pitched in, providing a small grant to help the event find its feet and cover a number of set-up costs.
The end result, Elaine said, was “a marvellous success” that was a tribute to all the volunteers who had worked so hard to bring a new event to Wondai.
“We had perfect weather on Saturday – not too hot, not too cool – and everything went pretty much like clockwork,” she said.
“Everyone seemed to be having a really good time, and the atmosphere was very lively and upbeat.”
Elaine said everyone involved was pleased with the outcome, and she looked forward to making the Country Festival one of the South Burnett’s annual winter events.