There was an impromptu burst of song as Garden Clubs of Australia president George Hoad officially opened the Daffodils at Rydal festival on Wednesday, September 5.
The very welcome rain halted for a few minutes as guests gathered at Greg Featherstone Park. The big dry was still a focus of attention, however, with the festival organisers announcing that proceeds from this year’s event would be going towards drought relief.
VIDEO: George Hoad opens the festival with a song.
Daffodils at Rydal Festival’s Phil Paton said, while the festival was primarily a fundraiser, it helped bring the community together.
Visitors could look forward to some new features in 2018.
“This year we have an exhibition of a number of sculptures in Pioneer Park, and this is in memory of Antony Symons, a local Rydal artist and sculptor, who passed away in March this year,” Mr Paton said.
“Best known in the Lithgow area for his bronze of Marjorie Jackson, the Lithgow Flash, Antony was also instrumental in the building of the amphitheatre in Pioneer Park, which will be used for a number of performances during the Daffodil Festival.”
Last year the festival raised $17,200 which went to two different charity organisations. Since 2002, the festival has raised $181,576 for charities in the Lithgow district.
Lithgow City Council mayor Cr Stephen Lesslie praised the festival's track record of luring visitors to the region.
“That in itself is such a boost to our local economy,” he said.
“You can add a couple of noughts [to the charity total] for the economic benefit you have given the community.”
Following a welcome to country by Nyree Reynolds, Mr Hoad welcomed everyone to the festival.
“The aim of the festival is to raise funds for local charities... and it marries perfectly with the aims and objectives of Garden Clubs of Australia, which is to extend the culture of gardening into the wider community for the benefit of all.
“And I couldn’t think of a better example of those twin objectives being realised over the next few weeks than seeing Rydal awash with thousands of magnificent daffodil blooms and the place awash with thousands of visitors.”