Building on success for bigger River Fest
By DAWN COHEN
DALE Potts's passion for Ballina's expanded river festival won nearly $5000 in pledges from the local business community.
Speaking on the Ballina River Fest at the Ballina Chamber of Commerce Breakfast on Wednesday, Mr Potts inspired members with a vision for the annual September gathering at Fawcett Park to grow into Ballina's signature event.
Nine businesses pledged donations on the spot.
A stakeholders' meeting organised by Ballina Shire Council on Tuesday unanimously agreed to expand the Ballina Alive Festival under the new title.
The group appointed Mr Potts as spokesperson.
Less than 24 hours later his bubbling enthusiasm at the business breakfast struck gold.
The 43-year-old aims to raise another 10 to 15 thousand dollars to employ a co-ordinator.
"Ballina Alive was great, but it relied on hardworking volunteers," he said.
Tuesday's meeting heard Byron Bay Writer's Festival organisers present their event as a casestudy.
"We discussed the elements necessary for a festival to be successful," said Mr Potts.
"We want a non-stop weekend of water-front activities incorporating all the aspects our region is known for.
"We will have markets, regional cuisine, boating, surf life saving and swimming activities.
"There will fireworks and musical entertainment.
"At any time over that weekend there will be something happening on the river."
A successful festival needs the infrastructure to be right, he said.
Ballina Shire Council will ensure the infrastructure works from the toilets to road blocks.
Aspects of the successful Australia Day celebrations at Fawcett Park will also be included like the wine tasting.
If you have busking or boating ideas, swimming events or sponsorship possibilities call the Ballina Visitor Information Centre on 6686 3484.