THREE thousand plus bike riders descended on Foster and Foster sure knows how to throw a party. Everyone enjoyed the carnival like vibe with music and dancing late into the night. It all ran like clockwork.
Up first at The Exchange Hotel was the Foster Secondary College Band led by teachers Rebecca Bone and Roy John then local bands including Fiona Curram, Grand Ole Factory Band, The Acquaintances and Midnight Possum played.
“I was blown away at how the community got together and mingled at the pub. Riders danced with locals,” said Shelley Brewer.
A phenomenal amount of food was sold but as Shelley said, “It was never about the money. We weren’t there to sell but to showcase our area.”
Nevertheless, the South Gippsland Hospital Auxiliary baked 248 packs of biscuits and 36 packs of bikey biscuits and pretty much sold out.
CFA Captain David Jones said that the Foster Brigade sold 50kgs of sausages.
“It will be a while before I can look at another sausage,” he said.
Manna Gum Community House sold 250 crepes, expertly made by Noelle Bonnin.
“Prom Country Ice cream kindly donated the ice cream to go with the crepes,” said Manna Gum’s Rebecca Matthews.
There were many other food stalls highlighting delicious seafood and other local produce.
“We were lucky with the weather,” said local Dana Hughes.
WARBY (we are right behind you), Shane Kolacz said it had rained heavily the night before.
“There was a bit of bite in the sun on Saturday. People are not up to getting sunstroke on the first day, so it was a godsend that it was overcast on Sunday,” he said.
The WARBY’s ride right behind the riders providing emotional, medical and mechanical support.
The bike riders mingled with the locals and all said how much fun it was to arrive in town to such a welcome.
Therase Weeks with her 11-year-old son Patrick on the back of her bike said she loved the bikes out on people’s driveways all along the Prom Road.
“This is a wonderful township. You should be very proud,” she said. “As we rode into town I said to my son ‘Oh look, they’ve put on a fair for us’, it was so heartening.”
Danielle Todoro from the South Gippsland Shire Council said that everyone has loved the way the town has embraced them. “They’ve loved the decorated bikes. The community has been working hard for quite a few months,” she said.
One of the riders, Ian Morgans from Mordialloc, said he didn’t know what to expect when he arrived. “It was such fun to find the street thronged with people.”
He particularly liked the YEP Gallery, the Community House and the Primary School and all the Traders and volunteers in their stunning red T Shirts.
Cr Ray Argento also thought it was fantastic.
“The community came out in full force. It was a great way to celebrate the completion of the Streetscape and the arrival of the cyclists,” he said. “Hopefully they will come back and holiday here.”
Dana Hughes said that a lot of the cyclists were asking for information about accommodation for future trips back to the area.
The stats show that 74% of the riders say they will go back within 12 months and will bring their families with them. The long-term benefits are enormous.
“I love it that the community went to so much trouble to create the event.” she said. “I met people from Paramatta and as far away as Ireland.
“There was a family who came all the way from Alice Springs and an 80-year-old who was ticking the bike ride off his bucket list.”
The Tidal River Open Space volunteers did afternoon tea for everyone as they were setting up on Saturday.
Other highlights on the Sunday included the Friends of Agnes Falls who had an information stall at the recreation reserve with souvenirs and merchandise for sale and a raffle with local prizes. The Bowls Club hosted barefoot bowls and had the bar open for nibbles and drinks and the Toora Football/Netball Club did a seafood BBQ and the Historical Society had a museum stall at the street party.
The SG Brass Band played music as the cyclists arrived and Great Southern Ukes provided ukulele music.
The Foster Primary School sold lovely postcards they made themselves.
On Monday morning Foster Swimming Pool provided an Egg and Bacon Breakfast at the football oval.
“It is wonderful what this town has done,” said bike rider Delia Dickson.