Serpent blesses Bowra
By UTE SCHULENBERG
'ABSOLUTELY brilliant' was Paul Cole's description of Bowraville's 'Back to Bowra' celebration on Saturday, as he looked down the main street full with people.
"It is very rewarding to see what has evolved out of this new start," the enthusiastic organising committee member said.
After an 18 month gap and a major date change, it seemed the town was certainly ready to support the revamped event, with close to 100 sponsors signing on.
Even intermittent showers didn't dampen the crowd's spirit. Some even saw it as a bonus. Noel Robertson of the Bowraville Theatre said thanks to a timely light shower of rain, all the planned outdoor dance performances decamped to the nearby venue.
"Now we have a theatre full of people and we're run off our feet," Mr Robertson said.
Community worker turned clown for the day, Anne Simpson, thought the change of date from October to April was excellent.
"In the past the footy interferes, but today there is a great community mix," she said.
The pavements of the 'verandah post' town were lined with colourful community stalls, including the local fire brigade and Nambucca Valley Marine Rescue.
The Miimi Mothers were doing a brisk trade outside the Bowraville Land Council shop, there was a busy country market, a plant fair and the special art exhibition was full of people voting for their favourite work.
The Bowraville Lions Club said they were 'run off their feet' keeping up with the demand for steak sandwiches and the Junior Rugby League fed about 200 guests at breakfast time.
But the highlight was definitely the Grand Parade.
The sun came out as the eighteen floats led by a giant rainbow serpent did two laps of the packed main street.
The serpent, which was voted the best float overall, was the vision of community elder, Elaine Walker, and was built over three months by many hands, both black and white.
Uncle Martin Ballangarry explained its Dreamtime importance as a symbol of bringing water back to the creeks.
"You gotta have water to make a rainbow ? our prosperity is from our rivers here," he said.
As this journalist departed, the tension was mounting.
The time for the Tug-o-War challenge was nigh and bets and rumours swirled like the rain clouds.
The Bowra Hotel, champions for the last 10 years, would soon take on Dyers Sawmill.
Hotel publican Bernie Lawler admitted the opposition looked formidable and he was a little apprehensive.
And the winner was ... turn to People and Places.