THOUSANDS of people flocked to the Merimbula foreshore on New Year’s Eve to enjoy firework displays and a night of entertainment that had something for everyone.
Natalie Godward, president of the Merimbula Chamber of Commerce, said the Ford Oval event was a huge success.
“We set out to make it a night that could attract a diverse crowd and entertain all, and I believe we really succeeded in that regard,” she said.
“We wanted the early part of the night to be family friendly, for locals and all the holiday makers who come to town.”
Starting with a puppet show at 5pm, Ford Oval began to fill with families who also enjoyed face painting, clowns, a jumping castle, musical acts and a host of food stalls for those who hadn’t brought their own New Year’s Eve picnic.
“We had a family holidaying from interstate at Eden who were in Ford Park in 2012 when we were setting up with no idea about the fireworks,” Ms Godward said.
“They stayed and had a brilliant time, and said they’d be back in 2013 - and they were!
“It’s examples like this that make you feel you are putting on a great night.”
Ms Godward said there was a deliberate police presence, in addition to State Emergency Service (SES) and fire brigade personnel.
“We did have a lot of police walking around, and not because we thought there would be any trouble, but because it made families at the fireworks feel they were at a really safe event.”
Ms Godward reported the crowd was well behaved and everyone had an enjoyable evening.
“I think we had about 3000 people in Ford Oval for the 9.30 fireworks and about 5000 later in the night to see the midnight display.
“It just gets bigger and better every year,” she said.
The BDN’s Gary Etcell attended the event with his family and had a wonderful time.
“I went with my grandchildren, daughter and son-in-law,” he said.
“On arriving we found a sea of people relaxing and enjoying the local talent performing.
“The bands were great, everybody was enjoying the atmosphere, dancing and singing along
“The fireworks at 9.30pm were sensational accompanied by lots of ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhs’ as they exploded in the night sky.
“The following morning we were walking passed the oval and were amazed to see that the area was in a pristine condition with only the stage and safety fences to be removed.
“We had a great night, so congratulations to the organisers,” he said.