New area for Folkie

GRAINY: Port Fairy Folk Festival construction crew leader Jack Smits with the sand that will be used to create a beach.
GRAINY: Port Fairy Folk Festival construction crew leader Jack Smits with the sand that will be used to create a beach.

TWO of Port Fairy’s greatest assets, its folk festival and the beach, will come together this weekend.

SERVING UP: Maree Conlan and Lyn Brown feeding the construction crew.  Picture: Rob Gunstone

SERVING UP: Maree Conlan and Lyn Brown feeding the construction crew. Picture: Rob Gunstone

The construction crew of the Port Fairy Folk Festival has dumped loads of sand on the western boundary of the festival arena at Southcombe Park and spread it out to create a new beach for Port Fairy.

A hut decorated in the brand and colours of the Port Fairy Surf Life Saving Club has made the beach even more authentic.

Festival construction crew leader Jack Smits said it was a case of making sure all space at the arena was put to use.

“This area, where the old netball courts were, has been a bit of a dead area,” Mr Smits said.

“We have tried a few different things that haven’t really taken off so we thought we’d create our own folk festival beach. We think it will be a great area for kids to come and play, it’s effectively a giant sandpit.

“Being at the back of stage one, parents will be able to watch some music and keep an eye on the kids playing in the sand at the same time.”

Mr Smits heads up a construction crew made up of 130 volunteers which have been hard at work over the last month getting the festival arena ready to go. 

This includes not only putting up structures at the arena but doing preparation work off-site in the festival workshop, carrying out tasks such as making and painting decorative pieces and finding ways to make the set-up as cohesive as possible.

Among the volunteers is a catering team that turns up each day to dish up some nourishment for the masses during the arena set-up. 

A member of the catering team is Maree Conlan.

The Port Fairy resident has been a volunteer at the festival for the last 15 years.

As well as helping with catering, Mrs Conlan also worked in the ticketing area on Friday, making sure 11,000 people had their festival entry wristbands on and ready for the weekend.

Mrs Conlan said she enjoys being part of the festival.

“It’s good to be able to help out, it’s the community thing to to do,” she said.

“It’s always good fun and you make great friendships out of it. There is a great range of people who volunteer.

“We have been catering for the last two weeks and we will be back again next week when they are packing everything away.

“The ticketing area is always busy, everyone is keen to make sure they are organised to get in.”