By Chris McLennan of Western Port Festival
THE annual Western Port Festival, held 21 to 23 February on the Hastings foreshore, is shaping up to be one of the largest and most exciting festivals in its 45-year history.
The festival is becoming known for being the largest volunteer-run community event on the Mornington Peninsula, and this year has seen a huge spike in people wanting to get involved.
Festival committee secretary Ross Topham said interest in the event has gone through the roof since last year.
“Entries for the street parade have almost doubled, stall participation has increased, more community groups are engaged in the event than ever before, our website has become hugely popular and we’ve doubled the number of ‘likes’ on our Facebook page.
“The festival is all about opportunity and inclusion, and has opened the doors to other community groups to get involved in different ways.”
Committee president Steve Hosking said volunteers had worked tirelessly to improve almost every part of the festival.
“They are a brilliant team committed to the Western Port region and its community,” he said.
“As an example, Western Port Equestrian Association is supporting stalls coordination, with half of all money raised from fees going to the association for the purchase of much-needed infrastructure. The other half is for festival costs such as hire of equipment like generators, lighting towers and fuel.
“Another example is Western Port Model Aircraft Club, which will be operating a model aircraft air show on the Friday night and all day Saturday. The club brings model radio control clubs from all over Victoria to make their show spectacular and varied.
“We are also grateful to have RPP-FM, another community group, to broadcast the parade, live music and highlights from the festival on 98.7 FM.”
There are many other community groups involved in the 2014 Western Port Festival.
The program is at www.westernportfestival.org.au