The community joined in the celebrations for the official Blast Furnace park heritage site opening as part of LithGlow on Saturday, May 12.
Thousands flocked through the gates to witness the blast furnace park lit up despite the cold temperatures. LithGlow has been hailed a ‘success’ by Lithgow City Council and patrons alike.
Acting tourism manager Simon Francis said that it was hard to know how it was going to go as a first year event but it has been very successful for the community.
“I am understandably happy, it seems to have been a great success, there was great participation rate on the tours and at the opening,” he said.
The ceremony opened with speeches by Ray Christison, Aboriginal Elder Aunty Helen Riley, Federal member for Calare Andrew Gee, Bathurst MP Paul Toole and Naomi Parry.
The opening gave residents and tourists alike the opportunity to hear about the story of the Blast Furnace and the importance this site has had within Lithgow.
“The amount of people exceeded our expectations but we were prepared and in the end we’ve only really seen positive comments and sentiments about the event,” Mr Francis said.
While the Blast Furnace showed off its magnitude with lighting, community members enjoyed walking through the historic building.
“A magnificent effort has been made by Lithgow City Council who have been passionate about this project for a long time now,” Bathurst MP Paul Toole said.
With $1.5 million of State and Federal funding, Paul Toole and Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee were both impressed with how the money had been used.
“They have used the money and put it to good use, creating including elevated walking platforms, a car park, lighting and with plans to create an amenities block,” Mr Toole said.
Residents were also treated to entertainment by renowned violinists ‘Strings on fire’ who played multiple songs while performing death defying acts, including balancing a sword on top of a knife that was being held in the performers mouth.
Cirkus Surreal and Hulla Illumination also stunned audiences with their circus skills and acrobatics while juggling light up hulla hoops.
Other popular attractions included the tours, exhibitions and displays happening in Lithgow, Portland and Wallerawang.
Eskbank House captured peoples attention by projecting their photo archive on the wall of the house, while people were amazed by the World War II spotlight that was shining over Lithgow throughout the night.
“All these places benefited from the exposure, and that is the general idea of LithGlow, even though the Blast Furnace is the centre piece, we want to show off these other sites,” Mr Francis said.
“We are looking forward to building upon it and showing off the Lithgow district as a whole.”