Congratulations to the committee behind the Shepparton Festival, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
It was great to attend several of the events.
On the opening night Carmel Johnson was a popular winner of the John Head Life Membership Award, and I would like to add my congratulations to her for her outstanding work since the inception of the festival. Carmel has been an inspirational worker in our community for many years. She has formidable connections and the capacity to make things happen. It is people like this that help make truly remarkable events happen in our communities.
With 49 events across 17 days, the event is a massive undertaking and speaks to the passion that the Shepparton district has for arts events. The festival was able to fill parks, halls and theatres as the community embraced the events, which ranged from art and textile exhibitions, music and plays to an interpretive walking trail representing local Indigenous and early settler cultures.
Last Saturday a centrepiece of the Shepparton Festival was John Head's humorous play, Dookie, a story about a soldier returning from duty in Afghanistan to his hometown of Dookie. Also on Saturday was Converge on the Goulburn, a multicultural festival held at Victoria Park Lake that celebrates Shepparton's cultural diversity through music, food and dance. On Sunday it was wonderful to attend the Shepparton Albanian Harvest Festival, another example of the popular celebrations of our ethnic communities throughout the year.
The Shepparton Festival also found its way to Melbourne, with the artist in residence on a train project, which included a photographer, a writer and artists travelling the rails between Shepparton and Melbourne and using the train carriages as their studios.