BRIDGEWATER is gearing up for a booming celebration tomorrow, and the entire community is ready to show off the town.
Loddon Shire Tourism manager Robyn Vella said the Booming Bridgewater event was organised as part of a recovery fund set up after the 2011 floods.
“The event is about celebrating the town and the amazing recovery efforts that have been made, as well as bringing visitors back into the affected areas,” she said.
Ms Vella said while the town was back on its feet, tourist numbers had been down.
“Even after the floods visitors still haven’t returned to the town, which really affects the businesses and community,” she said.
“Bridgewater is the gateway to the Loddon Shire and we have a limited number of visitors coming through.”
The celebration includes a street market, wine tasting on the riverbank, water skiing and sky diving demonstrations, a historic guided walk, and an Anglican Church Sunday service.
Local businesses and eateries will be open, live band Bruce’s Datsun will perform and there will be children’s entertainment, including a jumping castle.
Ms Vallier said most of the community had helped organise the event and they were eager to showcase their town.
She said the message was simple. “Bridgewater is back in business and the community want people to know,” she said.
Bridgewater Bakehouse owner Pat O’Toole remembers the 2011 floods clearly.
“We were just in the middle of renovations and the floods hit,” he said.
“Around one metre of water went through the building. It was a pain.”
Pat said the celebration would go a long way to drawing people back to the town.
“It will be great for the community,” he said. “Hopefully it will bring people back later rather than for just one day.”
Pat said Bridgewater had a lot to offer.
“I like it because it is a small town, small community, with a country atmosphere,” he said.
The Bridgewater triathlon and duathlon, now in its 10th year, also takes place tomorrow.
Race director Bryan Ryan said the triathlon, along with the main celebration, would help draw visitors.
“We are working together to bring people to the town,” he said.
The main race begins at 9.30am and includes a 500-metre swim, a 20 kilometre ride and a five kilometre run.
The Bridgewater celebration runs from 9am to 4.30pm.