Churchill Festival

We were carried away again at the Churchill Community Festival.
The Churchill Community Festival was an opportunity for the people of Churchill and district to come together to enjoy a variety of events and activities provided free or at low cost, for families and the community. It was a hot sunny day with the wind staying away until later in the day. Crowds of people turned out to experience what was on offer.

The Festival hosted various stalls which were frequented by the public. One stall which was popular was that of the Blender Bike which was sponsored by Latrobe Community Health Service. Participants would ride the bike which would control a blender to create a free smoothie to enjoy. This activity was run by the Churchill Neighbourhood Centre volunteers, and served to promote healthy eating and exercise, with a yummy smoothie as incentive to encourage people to try something different.

The Latrobe Leisure Centre ran a stall sharing information about the swim program which is run all year round, except for January, on every day except Sunday for everyone from infant to adult.
Face painting was provided free and children lined up to take advantage of that offer.
The jumping castle was most popular hardly being vacant for the whole time.
Lumen Christi came and used spray packs to colour people's hair.
The United Muslim sisters had a stall selling food from Lebanon.
The Smith Family Organisation provided a range of feathers, gumnuts and other natural objects so the children could create their own creature. Some amazing creations were made with much imagination.
Churchill & District News displayed their history books and postcards and made some sales.
Two giant board games - snakes and ladders and twister - kept some children occupied as did Pirate Pete with his boat and his cannons. Children loved having a go at firing the cannon and having a pretend sword fight with Pete.
The Churchill Baseball Club was excited to once again be part of the Churchill Festival in 2018. The Churchill Baseball Club is always looking for new members of all ages. Under 10s and under 13s play on Saturday and under 16s and Seniors play on Sunday. Training is on Wednesday nights from 4:30 pm.

The Churchill Hockey Club also ran a stall to recruit for the Under 7, Under 13, Under 17 and the women’s and men’s teams. Games are played at Federation University with training starting Thursday nights from March, with the Juniors and Under 7s to Under 17s from 5pm to 6pm and Seniors from 6pm.

The 1st Churchill Scout Group ran an information stall about what it means to be a Scout, sharing information about Scouting activities such as camping, hiking, learning survival skills, adventure activities and making great new friends. They ran three races and supervised the maze.
The Animal Farm attracted many families with the children being able to feed and cuddle many of the baby animals. It was certainly a hit.
Older cars are also a drawcard for many. The Piston Car Club had a display of their cars in the civic space, while the Historic Car Club was located behind the carpark.
Neighbourhood Watch volunteers set up shop to secure number plates and engrave precious items. They also had information about safety around the home to alert people of dangers. Children could also have a turn at being in a toy police car etc.

Wheelchairs for Kids also ran a stall which served to illustrate their role in providing wheelchairs to those in need. The charity receives donations from Rotary International as well as schoolchildren in over 290 schools who support the program through fundraising such as walkathons, free dress days and the recycling of aluminium. The organisation donates wheelchairs to over 70 countries around the world including Africa, Vietnam, East Timor, Indonesia and Thailand, and has produced over 27,000 wheelchairs to date. They produce over 300 wheelchairs per month with every $150.00 raised resulting in a child receiving a wheelchair that can be customised.
Service club, Hazelwood Rotary ran a barbecue for festival participants with all funds raised going to charities and local groups such as Wheelchairs for Kids, the Ronald MacDonald House and the Centenary House in Traralgon. Children who participated in the library storytime received a free ticket for a sausage.

Further refreshments were available inside the Churchill Hub via the Churchill Neighbourhood Centre. The proceeds will be used to help run their programs. Refreshments were sold by volunteers and included Devonshire tea, coffee and soft drinks. There were also adorable knitted ducks with an Easter egg inside which were a real hit with the kids.
Behind the Hub you could explore the Community Garden or eat your goodies while listening to Peter and David and the Community Singers. They provided a wonderful time of musical entertainment.
Also located there were Gippsland FM members who engaged with the community. They were amazing in their promotion of the event.
Inside the building the Gum Leaf Quilter ladies showed off their craft skills and demonstrated the quilting machine called Annie.

Another participant in the Churchill Festival was Swordcraft Gippsland. Two members dressed in costume wandered around the area, showing off their skills.The Swordcraft Gippsland group is a live action roleplay or LARP group which uses latex swords, arrows and other weapons in order to fight each other in battle games whilst wearing real armour. It is technically a full-contact sport which is free for the first session and is made up of participants over the age of 16. The group has 400 players a week in Melbourne and 50 each game in Gippsland with multiple charters in Bendigo, Ballarat and Melbourne. Swordcraft Gippsland meets fortnightly at the Angus Reserve and new players can come and give it a try with the cost being $4-7 dollars to participate.

The Library in the Churchill Hub was open to all visitors and was a great reprieve for anyone who wanted a quiet minute to themselves away from the festive environment. The Library also wished to share to community families that the story time program runs on Wednesdays at 10:30 am and is open to the public as a fun family activity.
Students from FedUni took turns to read stories to the children who sat enthralled. They were very busy.

Further highlights included the Wild Dog Cloggers who started the entertainment with a well rehearsed display of clogging with many intricate steps to toe tapping music. The entertainment continued with the Stringbusters, The Morwell Brass Band, Latrobe and Francis Orchestra and finally Kurnai Music with bands, choirs, duets and solos.
Amidst this wonderful range of musical ability and types was the official opening of the Festival by Latrobe City Mayor Darrell White OAM.
Across the road at the lower Town Hall the Bowls Club reps had a lot of interested visitors to try out bowling. Hopefully they will obtain some new members. The Men's Shed had visitors too, some inquiring about how it is run. Perhaps they will be future attendees.
Abigail Brown, on behalf of the Festival Organising Committee said she was thrilled with the day. She extended a huge thank you to all the volunteers who so graciously gave their time to make the day run well. Thanks were also offered to the wonderful sponsors of the Festival - Latrobe City Council, ENGIE, HVP, Latrobe Community Health Service, Gippsland Trade Printers, Lions, Rotary, 1st Churchill Scouts, Woolworths and Churchill & District News.
The Churchill Fire Station was open to show off its equipment and allowed the children to squirt a hose. Information about fire safety was available.

To travel between the Hub and the Lions Market at the Churchill Hotel you could, for a gold coin, ride in style in a two horse - drawn vehicle. Ian at the reins and his son at the rear made each journey a safe and happy one. Customers had big smiles. The gold coin donations were given to the Wheelchairs for Kids program.

At 1pm Shave for a Cure began with Katie and her assistant from Barber Shed. First they 'shaved' the two mascots for the Community Garden. Then for real, Abigail, Bronwyn, Susan, Ben and Rebecca, bravely participated. Abigail, Bronwyn and Susan shed all their locks to the cheers and oohs and ahs of the crowd which gathered to witness the occasion. All three looked totally different when the job was completed. Rebecca, gave up a lot of her beautiful long hair and Ben had a mohawk cut.
Much money was raised for the charity which aims to find a cure for Leukemia.

At the shops Lifeline opened for sales.
Hazelwood Health offered free skin cancer checks and blood pressure reading. Vintage Chill were hoping to have hot cross buns available but were sadly unable to obtain them at the last minute.
The Lions Market had a bumper day with a full complement of stalls. Many stall holders reported excellent sales. They too had a range of musicians play to entertain the crowd. There was free face painting and a jumping castle for the kids. A huge Easter Raffle was won by Lilly Spicer - Morris.
A variety of food items was bought and enjoyed.
Spokesperson Bill said it was a great market. Everyone enjoyed themselves and the Lions had lots of positive feedback from people attending. They are hoping to make the April market just as big and successful. It was a good day and generated interest from possible stall holders to attend at future markets.