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Community & Business

12 October, 2022

Come home to Gil!

Stemming from an idea over three years ago, the Come Home to Gilgandra Festival was a long weekend many will remember for a lifetime.

By Emily Middleton

Friends and family had the opportunity to come back to Gilgandra, and catch up on happy terms. One of the event organisers, Paul Morris, said the idea came from John ‘Pug’ Farragher, who loves coming home to Gilgandra, and wanted a reason to catch up with people in a happy environment.

“John made a comment that we come home for people’s funerals, so why don’t we come home and have a happy event instead.

“That way Gilgandra can benefit, and everybody can catch up,” said Mr Morris.

“John wanted this to happen years ago, but COVID-19 intervened.”

When COVID-19 began to settle down, a committee was formed, and the event was created. “It doesn’t happen without the people, you look at the markets and parade, and the participation of the people is brilliant. It always works if everybody tries,” said Mr Morris.

Throughout the sunny weekend, many people caught up with peers they hadn’t seen in years. Some over 50, some over 10, but all were grateful for the opportunity. Brian Whiteman from Dubbo was able to work up with former Gilgandra Newspapers colleague Don Groat.

“In 1969 I did my apprenticeship at Gilgandra Newspapers; we were going from letterpress into offset. I was there with a few people including Groatie. It’s been an amazing experience to catch up with them all over this weekend,” said Mr Whiteman.

“I saw a girl I thought I’d never see again!” said Rosie Cooper.

“I didn’t know who was coming because I had been trying to come home for a couple years’ now, so I picked this weekend for the double bonus, and it’s just been so wonderful to see everyone.”

Officially kicking off on Thursday, the Come Home to Gilgandra Festivities could be felt right from the beginning of the week. The streets were busier, shops were full, and finding a parking spot on Miller Street was near impossible.

Shop fronts were filled with old photograph of year groups and footy teams, and as visitors filtered in, there was busy discussion and reminiscing.

On Friday night, many school, work, and sport reunions occurred at various pubs, followed by the market and street parade on Saturday morning. The three Gilgandra schools held open days for visitors to walk through their old schools for a trip down memory lane.

There were festivities at the Sporties as well, including a ‘family fun day’ and ‘dinner under the stars’.

The weekend was topped off with Bendigo Bank’s Day on McGrane Oval, where there was live entertainment, raffles, and the 2022 NRL grand final played on the big screen.

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