THE streets of Bridgewater were filled with visitors yesterday, as the town celebrated its achievements over the past two years.
There was wine tasting on the riverbank, a street market, a historic guided walk, water-skiing and skydiving demonstrations throughout the day.
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.
“It has met expectations and we have been able to celebrate the recovery of the floods, but we have also been able to bring visitors into the area and able to showcase Bridgewater,” she said. “Bridgewater is booming.”
Mrs Vella said residents were still coming to terms with the floods that ravaged the town in 2011.
“These businesses have all been affected by the flood and they have done a marvellous job to recover,” she said.
“They have done it because they are proud of where they live and they are proud of their environment.”
Mrs Vella said she hoped Booming Bridgewater would become an annual event.
“I would like to see it as an annual event so we can all come together and celebrate the success of the community, but also bring visitors in to see what it is like to live in a regional community,” she said.
“Bridgewater is only
20 minutes from Bendigo.
“Bendigo is a city that is growing and the Loddon Shire needs to capitalise on that. So many people are moving to Bendigo and we need to let people know Bridgewater is in Bendigo’s backyard.”
Bridgewater Bakehouse owner Pat O’Toole said she remembered the 2011 floods very clearly.
“We were just in the middle of renovations and the floods hit,” he said.
“About one metre of water went through the building, it was a pain.”
While the memories of two summers ago still echo through the community, Pat said the town was back on its feet.
“The media has been really good to us by getting the word out that the town is like it was before the floods,” he said.
“Business was good over the summer period.”
Pat said the Booming Bridgewater celebration would help draw 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.