Multiple shades of tartan go on show

TARTAN of many colours billowed in the breeze at the 153rd Maryborough Highland Gathering on New Year's Day.

Although there was the occasional shower of much-needed rain, the popular street parade and carnival at Princes Park drew hundreds of fans.

Some were at their first carnival, but others have been trackside many times.

Harold Hubble has racked up more than 80 years at the gathering.

The honour of declaring the gathering open was bestowed on Mr Hubble.

His inspirational speech touched on memories of being at the Gift in the 1930s and what the gathering means to him and so many others.

January 1 at Maryborough is a unique experience.

There are not too many places in the world where the playlist from the highland pipe bands or brass bands ranges from Scotland The Brave to Rock Around The Clock and many other popular tunes.

Hundreds lined High Street for the parade and then headed to witness the athletics, Highland Games, Highland Dancing, and catch up with family and friends.

Bands who marched and played along the city's main street were Maryborough Brass Band, Golden City Pipe Band, Daylesford District Pipes and Drums, St Arnaud Pipe Band, Creswick Brass Band, Clan Macleod Pipe Band, Castlemaine Highland Pipe Band, Bendigo Highland Pipe Band, and Maryborough Highland Band.

Signs of each band's name were held aloft by the rising stars from the Maryborough Little Athletics Centre.

Highland dancers such as Cailey Finlayson kept pace in the parade.

Maryborough Highland Society president Bruce Dellavedova said the day drew many families.

"There is something for everyone," Mr Dellavedova said.

"It's a great day for the family and for people of all ages."

The president is related to Maryborough's number one basketball star Matthew Dellavedova, now playing his first NBA season in the United States with Cleveland Cavaliers.

There is something for everyone. It's a great day for the family and for people of all ages - Bruce Dellavedova

The gathering's chief said the lead-up and running of such a successful event could not be done so without the support of a dedicated team of volunteers.

On the track, Tallangatta's Lee Forrest, a gathering rookie, sprinted to victory in the $15,000 Bendigo Bank Maryborough Gift.

Forrest joined an impressive list of winners of the 120m sprint classic.

153rd Maryborough Highland Gathering

There was grace and power on display late in the afternoon.

Bessie Penhall, 8, danced on the drum, as seven-year-old Ella Burns did likewise on the ground drum during the performance by the massed bands and highland dancers.

Fans then cheered loudly as the strong men lifted the heavy stones on to the 44-gallon drums.

In a year's time there will be many who make the pilgrimage to Maryborough.

Harold Hubble believes there's no better  way to start the year.

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