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Orange Blossom Festival, 2019 – Lights, Beats and Eats.

Hills Celebrates Spring

An event made truly for the Hills community, where people of all ages and backgrounds come together to celebrate their local community- the Orange Bloom Festival is the biggest annual festival in the Hills area. Named after the citrus trees that have played an important role in the Hills agriculture since the 1800s, the Orange Bloom Festival is a month long spring festival that celebrates the connecting of people, local talents and community achievements. Having been celebrated for the past 50 years and taking form in a variety of ways such as street parades, community fairs, fun runs and more, and this year the Orange Bloom Festival was held on Saturday 14th of September at the Hills Showgrounds with the return of Lights, Beats and Eats.

Igniting itself in colours, lights and sounds, the Hills Showgrounds were occupied with interactive installations alongside traditional pastime games to keep everyone included and enjoying themselves. Here, giant inflatable mushrooms for that cool Instagram picture, as well as a gigantic interactive music generating flower installation attracted the attention and interest of not just children, but teens and adults of all ages. These installations were the centre of the Orange Bloom Lights Beats and Eats festival. Just behind these light installations were the rides and games section, also radiating in neon lights and fun. From giant slides to bumper cars, rubber duck fishing and laughing clowns, this section of the festival was a classic must-have for any festival sized celebration.

The beats section of the Orange Blossom Festival was brought us by a stage that sat on the opposite side of the Hills Showgrounds. Here, local talents such as dance schools and performance teams, as well as national performers and artists such as the Dauntless Movement Crew and Reese Mastin brought life to the auditory section of the Orange Bloom Festival, as they showcased their limitless talents and hard works to the Hills community.

What is the best way to enjoy food at a festival? A way that allows for freshly cooked food without the worries that come with a traditional food stall? Food trucks. Representing and covering the ‘eats’ part of this years Orange Blossom Festival, the Hills community were lucky to have had some of the most popular food trucks in the state, with the food trucks of Gelato Messina, Smokin’ Grill Barbeque, Chur Burger and many more. The food trucks truly gave the final touch to the festival vibe of this year’s Festival.

Pros and Cons
To be very honest, there weren’t any major cons to this event. The event was a celebration of a community that is proud to be its own, and brought its people together for a special night’s worth of fun. If anything, I had heard that the event was much larger the previous year (which I regrettably did not attend), so I would like to see the Orange Blossom Festival at its peak, growing bigger over the years with more to come together for and celebrate. The only minor con would have been the condition of the Hills Showgrounds on the day of the Festival, as the grass was quite visibly damaged and lead to dirt and dust to fly around the lower areas of the air. Although not too big of an issue for adults, for children it could have entered their breathing and eyes if not kept cautious. Better and more consistent care over the Hills Showgrounds will not only prevent this and be beneficial to any other upcoming events that may take place there. However, other than that, there were no other real cons.

The biggest pro that I was able to experience at the Orange Blossom Festival was the sense of community of the Hills area people. The Hills, although very large in area, appears to do a wonderful job in bringing its people together, as I felt the emphasis of local communion and celebration that echoed throughout this event with a large area of the festival dedicated to specifically Hills council relative stalls such as Hills Bushcare, Hills Waste and Recycling, as well as a Hills Development board that was open for discussion and explanation. It was great to see so many people from the Hills community so willingly engage with these stalls to find out more about their community.

Overall Experience
I enjoyed my first time at the Orange Blossom Festival. I had first attended with expectations of something like the Ryde council’s Granny Smith Festival (which is a lot larger in attendance), but upon my experience at the Orange Blossom Festival, was truly blown away at the community aspect of the Hills people and council, as people were seen celebrating their community in a way that was more than just attending a local festival, but to learn and participate in community development and historical discussion, as well as support local artists and talents. It was also amazing to see so many people arrive with their whole families to enjoy the community festival fun together, something that I don’t really see in other community festivals and fairs. I would definitely visit an Orange Blossom Festival again in the future and watch as the Hills community grows into something even bigger and better.


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