It’s only going to get lighter from here! We’ve been through our darkest night/shortest day. Last night our Winter Festival was a hoot! Like many at this stage of winter - I have a cold. I am glad I pushed it aside to be with community because it warmed me like my bed never could have.
It was my facebook feed come alive as I saw and chatted to many of my friends in real life. Music, food, dancing and lots of wonderful conversations were had. There is nothing like the speed and warmth of face to face conversation. All those untypable communications get released, spoken words have a lighter, freer quality between people, laughter is spontaneous and infectious and hugs – well, real life hugs are unbeatable!
The light projections brought new shapes and colours to the streets we are so familiar with, casting a magical quality to the air. While the main stage was a stream of local voices and dancing with a crowd of participation, street performers were scattered throughout the route as we walked around looking at the art on the buildings. The Art Gallery enjoyed a big night of participation and stall holders and shops that stayed open were pleased with the traffic.
There were plenty of past students to reconnect with. I watched a little girl in open admiration of Sabrina Salvatore who played at the start of the festival, standing mesmerized by her song. I really enjoyed Sab and Monica McDonald share their musical talents at the Gippsland Women’s Forum the night before. There is something wonderful about seeing past students growing into accomplished people – one of the long term perks of being a teacher that I have come to appreciate. Steph Kay had a stall showcasing her wonderful magazine ‘ Hello Florence’ as well as her amazing photography portfolio.
Watching small children sway and dance with the performers on the stage made me smile. They played amongst the hay bales while their parents chatted looking on. The drumming circle came together and sustained a beat that made a great background to the packing up of stalls and the clearing of the site by stall holders and the hardworking and generous OUTR team.
We are so blessed to have RMIT’s OUTR project : Reactivate Latrobe Valley work with us to bring life back into our town centres. The team have worked tirelessly for 3 days and nights, largely behind the scenes to deliver a festival that brought joy to our community. I spoke to a lot of happy people during the night, it’s good for us to get together – looking forward to the next one and lighter days ahead. Happy Solstice!