This is a festival we have done before and runs for 7 days over Easter. It has now been running for 49 years and is one of the best run I have ever been to in terms of organisation, entertainment, cleanliness and features. Sunday nights highlights finish with a fireworks display over the harbour and then its time to take the tired children (and adults) home to bed.
It is divided into 3 parts effectively along the harbour wall with a large contingent of “Showies” taking up the bottom 1/3 of the park with lots of rides, knockems, dodgems and fairyfloss. Then the middle section with a stage, food stalls, seating for hundreds and of course lots of little kids rides. The top 1/3 consists of other types of market stalls without the teatowels, soaps and usual market paraphernalia. This year we are in amongst the food stalls and away from “Charity’s husband” who I will elaborate on later.
Next door to us is wood fired pizzas and Poffitjures [spelled incorrectly] Dutch Pancakes and as we overlook the food court there are street walkers – no not that kind – these are street artists entertaining the crowd.
Up on the main stage is non stop entertainment with acts like Wickety Wak (with 3 original members) a talent quest one night, a Jimmy Buffet tribute band, a Beatles tribute band and much much more.
Of course all of these acts are sponsored by large companies in the district, without whose support this festival would not be the success it is.
Sunday morning we wandered through the markets in the Kmart carpark. Our friend Max from Monel Wines in Monto was there and after chatting to him for a while we meandered through the markets and thinking of Kylie and her love of Indian Food I bought a few packs of premixed spices for some Indian dishes that hed the recipe on them and were very nicely packaged.
Upon getting back to the van and looking more closely at the packaging I found they were made from the cooking book written by, I assumed, a long and dear friend from our Blackwater days over 30 years ago. There could only be one Indian named Eddie Lewis in the Central Queensland area. I had to find out.
Often we would meet at Terry and Val Moores place for barbeques and Terry,s famous hungi. Eddie Lewis and his wife Dottie and their kids were a constant as was Eddies curries. Being Indian Eddie, a self taught cook could come up with the most interesting and tasty meals in so little time and with so little effort. Quite often I tried to replicate them but never got it right. After leaving Blackwater we lost touch with Eddie and his curries until Val unfortunately passed away from cancer about 2 years ago and there was my little friend across the room after the funeral. Unfortunately Eddie had lost his wife Dottie a few years before also and he has dedicated his book to his lost love.
Eddie told me about his upcoming cook book and how he was in the process of finding a publisher and a prouder man I don’t think I have seen about his cooking. I vowed to keep in contact and get one of his books one day.
I remembered seeing a book on the stand where I bought my curry packs and so while Stuart was finishing up his setting up I walked back to the markets to chat with the stall holder. This was also a walk down memory lane as the man selling the spices and cook book was someone I knew along with his parents from the kids soccer and basketball days in Blackwater (Michael Hamilton) His father coached the kids basketball team and he was president of the club for a while. Michael remembered Brett especially from soccer and Kylie from basketball and said to be remembered to them. Immediately my memory switched to the old photos I looked at recently of the kids in yellow T shirts getting their medals from Michael’s father Barry.
When I indicated what I do for a living and my connection with Eddie they suggested I might like to sell the packages and books on our trips. This has real possibilities and I will look into it.
The festival started with a display of floats through the city streets ending at the harbour front at about 4.00 pm The entertainment went through til about 11pm with a fireworks display at 9.00 pm. This is duplicated on Wednesday and Friday nights as well.
Unfortunately it rained all day Monday so the entire event was cancelled for that day but was business as usual on Tuesday night. Then a few showers threatened to put an end to Wednesday as well but we opened and the crowds started arriving and the night was a success.
Thursday will be our last day to shop as we will be working full days on Friday and Saturday and from last years figures they will both be big ones.
Oh yes – I was going to mention Charitys husband wasn’t I?
He had a stand across from us last year and about 10,000 times we heard the same cry.
He sells hats, sunglasses, scarves and airbrushed tattoos and spruiked over and over and over “ C ‘mon folks, all the money goes to Charity – Yeah my wifes name is Charity.....
Why he sells at a market stall I don’t know because apparently he has a wife – not sure if her name is Charity but they have about 6 shops in Brisbane or somewhere.