Happy birthday Bellingen Markets
By CRAIG McTEAR
MUMS, dads, grandparents and children of all ages kicked up their heels on Saturday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Bellingen Community Markets.
Markets manager Neil Hamilton said several thousand people crowded Bellingen Park for the big day, with a record 275 stallholders selling their wares.
"I've come to learn the markets mean a great deal to people," Mr Hamilton said.
"It has become a focal point and an important part of the cultural, social and commercial fabric of Bellingen."
The birthday program was jam-packed with activities, which kicked off with a performance by popular North Coast band Romaniacs.
Bellingen drumming ensemble Fresh Skins and FABRIC also entertained the revellers, while Ray Buchanan, the brother of the late Neville Buchanan, performed a smoking ceremony and taught traditional Aboriginal dance.
Bellingen mayor, Cr Mark Troy, welcomed the large crowd to the proceedings, which also included a cake-cutting ceremony and a thrilling display from the Coffs City Skydivers.
The third Saturday of the month has become an important fixture on the social calendar not only for many Bellingen residents, but market-lovers from throughout the North Coast.