Advance Alexandria Fair!
ALEXANDRIA: All day Saturday it rained and rained, but on Sunday February 24 the sun shone through the clouds, much to the delight of the estimated 1,000 people gathered at Alexandria Park for the very first Alexandria Fair.
Organiser Vanessa Knight, of the Alexandria Residents Action Group (ARAG), was relieved. “This has all gone better than we had even hoped,” she said. “As the first Fair in Alexandria organised by residents, we were worried that six months of hard work was going to be washed away, instead we had sunshine and lots of people came along.”
Fellow organisers and volunteers, Marika, Jim, Yvette, Leanne, Alan, Rebekah, Cath, Richard, Yvonne, Gary and Ben, expressed their gratitude to all whose dedication, donations and community spirit helped create such a positive event.
The Fair was opened by Alexandria resident Charles (Chikka) Madden with a Welcome to Country, and Lord Mayor Clover Moore took the opportunity to acknowledge that it was wonderful to see so many people enjoying the Fair and all that was on offer.
Winston Wang, who played violin with the Alexandria Park School Band, was one of many young people who enjoyed the festivities, including Kids’ Writing Games, Face Painting, the “Big Bunny” Jumping Castle, and Bicycle Jousting (led by the City’s Try2Wheels volunteers). “I really loved the Bicycle Jousting,” Winston said.
Try2Wheels also offered a free bicycle maintenance service. “This is my daughter’s bike,” said Reiko Bell, who had waited patiently in line at the Try2Wheels stall. “I need to have the seat lowered for her, as well as a few other adjustments.” The work was completed efficiently and with a smile.
Not surprisingly, the Doggy Parade and Competition drew a large and enthusiastic crowd, with more than one spectator commenting on the wonderfully entertaining work of the MC, actor Brendan Cowell.
Ms Knight thanked the City of Sydney for the seed funding, and the wonderful City of Sydney staff for their support, as well as South Sydney Community Aid and various local businesses for their practical help, financial and in-kind donations.
Councillors Linda Scott and Irene Doutney, who judged the Children’s Photo Competition, clearly enjoyed themselves, meeting residents at various stalls including the Police and Fire Brigade Display, Community Garden, Trash and Treasure Blanket Sale, Pet Barn and Recycled Furniture.
The Factory Community Centre in Waterloo was a proud supporter, providing the marquees, tables and chairs for the day. Laura Kelly, Community Development Worker at The Factory, said: “This is a fantastic turnout – a residents-run event for residents. It’s taken a lot of effort, and I’m just so happy that all the effort’s paid off.”
ARAG partnered with the P&C of the Alexandria Park Community School to run a very successful barbecue and cold drink stand. “I can’t believe that we still had queues for the sausages and vegetable patties right up to the end and the humid weather meant that we sold lots of cold drinks on the day. A great team effort,” said Yvette Edgell.
The Don Mori Sax Trio and St John Ambulance volunteers Michael and Helen were the last to pack up and leave.
It is hoped that the Alexandria Fair will be staged again in 2014.
Finalists from the Children’s Photo Competition