Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.
THE Ararat Eisteddfod Mini Competition has attracted young dancers from across the state to the Ararat Town Hall this week.
For many of the competitors, the event is their first opportunity to return to the stage.
Eisteddfod committee secretary, Chris Harris, said parents and teachers have been thanking the committee all week for getting an extra event off the ground in uncertain times.
“It's very exciting to see everyone back in the Town Hall. Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces is enough of a reward for me.”
Ms Harris said planning was made easier when the State Government announced an increase to 100 per cent capacity in theatres last Friday night.
“It couldn't have been better timing and it's working really well out the back with the one per two square meter ruling. We've got plenty of seats if people want to come and watch.”
Member for Ripon, Louise Staley, officially opened the eisteddfod on Tuesday morning, having campaigned hard for dance schools throughout last year.
“I dropped in several times, both on Zoom and in-person during lockdowns, trying to get these dance schools back because they just fell between all the cracks,” she said.
“It is marvellous to see, not only all kids back, but it's also great seeing the parents back and the Town Hall being used.
“It's so typical, could I say, of this committee and this group, that they're having a mini eisteddfod early and not waiting until September - they couldn't wait, and I'm not surprised that it's them.”
The mini-competition has had just over 200 entries - a little over one-third of the normal September size.
Ms Harris said it would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the many volunteers who have donated their time, particularly young kids.
“We bought bright jackets, so we make sure they've got one and they just love it. I'm all about training our next generation of volunteers, and they're just having a ball,” she said.
Sessions continue today at 9:30am, 1:30pm, 6pm, and tomorrow (Saturday) at 9:30am.