Witnessing community spirit is good for the soul.
Two days on the Ballina Coast and Hinterland, listening to the locals talk with pride about their remarkable part of the world, has left an indelible mark.
To say we’re impressed is an understatement. For us, it’s a bit like: “We’ll have whatever they’re all having”.
Such ‘can do’ attitude, self belief, determination to find new ways of doing things and commitment to quality service is always uplifting even in small measures. But the Ballina Coast and Hinterland is fortunate to boast these attributes in bucket loads.
We found entrepreneurship and community pride enough to convince us that the Ballina Coast and Hinterland is indeed a special place – not only as a desirable tourist destination, but also to settle, raise a family and turn dreams into reality.
The second annual Ballina Prawn Festival was a perfect example.
Enthusiasm for this festival met us at every corner. Everyone was going; wanted to know if we’d be there; and felt it was important to showcase what the area could do.
It was an impressive show of support for the Ballina Prawn Festival concept – and it wasn’t an exaggeration.
The big crowds who braved hot weather to attend the 2nd annual festival, centred on Ballina’s Missingham Park, were certainly enthuastic.
Crowds clapped acts on the main stage; took part in the various events in big numbers; stood in often trying queues for the Ferris Wheel; delighted in the prawn shelling; urged on craft in the DIY Raft Race; and lined the riverbank for the Spectacular fireworks that ended the festival.
Festival-goers loudly cheered Torben Mikkelsen, of Yamba, when he shelled and ate half-a-kilogram of prawns in 1 minute and 43 seconds to retain the title he won in 2013.
And, at every chance, people eagerly praised the festival organisers and were quick to stress the importance of such promotions to the continued prosperity of Ballina Coast and Hinterland.
The enthusiasm was infectious and good for jaded spirits.
To us, it seems that a visit to Ballina Coast and Hinterland is good for just about whatever ails you.