Lismore Friendship Festival.
Lismore Friendship Festival. Sophie Moeller

Nothing like Lismore to lighten up grey tired faces

WINTER is time where we naturally pull back, retreat and do things like stare into fires, walk alongside cold seas, watch dramatic sunsets, rug up and simply check out for a while, before the upbeat energy of spring comes rattling in. Or is it?

Lismore has been so interesting recently. The Lantern Parade on the solstice was huge, charming and delightful. The town was chock-a-block with families and visitors cheering and clapping as it wove its way through town. The lanterns were funny and clever. Who dreams these designs up? The bands and the performers were wonderful. There was a palpable feeling of good will as the parade cast its enchanting spell over the town.

The next day the Friendship Festival was held at Spinx Park. I must have been feeling sociable so I went to that and that was so very good natured and pleasant. People sat in the sun at long tables, drinking wine, eating Italian foods, watching dancing and a hugely enjoyable tug of war, all held together by the hilarious MC. I went for a short while and ended up staying for a few hours, sitting in the sun, simply enjoying the day

The following weekend I was given a ticket to see [MIS]CONCEIVE at the town hall. I was in for another delightful time. The Aboriginal dance troupe were very clever and engaging and gave us a performance which was insightful and fantastic. The crowd rose to their feet at the end, whooping and cheering. What a treat.

On I pressed, in an unexpected burst of outgoingness. The next day I saw The Loveys perform at a house concert. Here was more rich entertainment as the quirky, funny all-woman band sang their way through a series of songs that had the crowd in stitches.

So much for my normally reclusive life. I am a reluctant goer-outer. I tend to stay home, cosy in my nest. I have to be prised out. Suddenly I was out there and what did I find? The wellspring of creative arts that underpins out little town. I had forgotten about how we have so much going on, ranging from motor home shows, monster trucks, giant pumpkin competitions, sensational dance and theatre, tea parties, all manner of parades, protests and even tea parties just for fun.

Over the last few weeks, several friends have come visiting from the big, congested and expensive cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Enchanted by the amenity, creativity and tolerance of our town, they immediately set about finding ways to eventually come and live here. I look at their tired, grey city faces and think, what took you so long to wake up to us? Then they left, peace returned and I went back to sitting on the veranda looking at the sunset and thought, we are very lucky here in little old Lismore. I may even have felt a little smug.