ORGANISERS have deemed the 20th annual Heywood Wood Wine & Roses Festival a success, but they’re already looking towards the 21st event next year.
Festival president/co-ordinator Ross Barclay said crowd numbers were up this year and described the event as a hit.
“The comments of people walking out was that it was fantastic and, ‘we’ll be back again’,” Mr Barclay said.
While exact numbers haven’t been finalised, he said he was surprised by where people attending the festival had travelled from.
“There were a lot of backpackers and overseas tourists, people who were travelling through, and people from Echuca, Shepparton, South Australia, Geelong and Melbourne.”
Among the highlights were a circus, a performance by Australia’s Got Talent finalists George & Noriko and a grand finale fireworks display.
Mr Barclay said the hot weather had given organisers food for thought for next year.
“It was pretty warm but we’re lucky we’ve got some shaded areas along the river,” he said. “It’s given us more ideas on how to structure the festival — we learnt a little bit more.
“We’re hoping and waiting on a $350,000 grant to have a permanent stage built with a shaded area adjacent to it.
“We’re hoping that will make a lot of improvement, not only for the festival but for other events to be held.”
It wasn’t just the weather on the day creating challenges.
“On Thursday … it was too windy to put up the marquees — even the circus people had problems,” Mr Barclay said.
“But on Friday we got everything in order — we got 16 hours work done in eight hours.
“If we didn’t have such a great bunch of people as volunteers it would not happen.”
Mr Barclay not only had praise for the volunteers, but also for the festival-goers.
“At midnight after the festival, I was walking through the grassed area of the festival and it was as clean as the carpet inside your home,” he said.