By John Keast
Pauline Denzey is ankle-deep in bookings, inquiries – and flour.
By day, Pauline runs The Cottage Pantry and gallery in Geraldine, but when she has sorted the last of the flour and cornflakes, she turns her attention to the Geraldine Festival, which runs from November 14 to 17.
The Geraldine Festival – it was known as the Arts and Plants Festival – is in its 31st year – and it has had a facelift.
Pauline leads the organising committee and “I felt it was in need of a rebrand and a freshen up”.
A big new feature this year is the Battle of the Sounds in which amateurs vie for $5000 for first, $3000 for second and $1000 for third.
Entries are from around the country and are from folk to rock.
In the past, the committee paid for bands to perform.
Now, bands meet their own cost of getting to Geraldine but stand to win good prize money.
All the bands – around 10 are envisaged – will perform in the Geraldine Domain on the Saturday.
Another big change is the art exhibition, which will be in the Geraldine Academy of Performance and Art and run for nine to 10 days.
Prizes and categories have also been changed, giving amateur artists more of a chance to win prizes.
The theme this year is Geraldine’s Gone Batty, a light-hearted play on words to support the long-tailed bat found in and around Geraldine.
There will be a market in town on the Friday, as usual, with 130-odd stalls, and around 250 stalls, many new, on the Saturday.
Pauline said she wanted the festival to celebrate everything Geraldine had to offer and to give an opportunity for local groups to fundraise at the festival.
Any interested groups should get in touch.
Pauline is no stranger to organisation.
In Britain she worked for the Norfolk County Council and was involved with organising royal visits.
Each English county, she said, had a lord-lieutenant, the monarch’s personal representative in the county.
In collaboration with that person, council staff would arrange and oversee visits.
Pauline said she had met many members of the Royal family and was well aware how hard they worked behind the scenes.
Another feature of the festival is gardens, with around 20 open to the public over the weekend.