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  • Writer's pictureJack Ward

Zooming into Christmas

Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.

A MAROONA Christmas tradition has returned, putting a farmer’s flare on festive decorations.

PHOTO: Jasmine Conboy and her Mum, Dominique Sparks, were delighted with the end product. (Jack Ward/The Ararat Advocate)

Dominique Sparks and Cameron Conboy have been utilising their paddock on the Mortlake-Ararat Road for the past 15-years to bring Christmas joy to the community.

“It was my husband's idea - he thought it was a perfect place down on the road and a bit of fun for everybody,” Ms Sparks said.

“We've done a giant Santa out of hay bales, we've done a giant Christmas tree out of hay bales, a giant reindeer out of hay bales… a Frozen theme, a Star Wars theme and we had the elves and Santa playing cricket on the Merry Christmas Ground (MCG) one year.”

She said it was hard for the pair and their kids to ignore the COVID-19 pandemic when brainstorming this year’s creation.

“People said, ‘Oh, you've got to do Santa with a facemask.’ And we thought it needs to be bigger than that, so we thought maybe a Zoom, Santa catching up with all his elves around the world,” she said.

“We all put our heads together to come up with the idea and then the kids came up with what countries we wanted to use. Once I'd drawn the sketches, it was a bit of a team effort to get them all painted.”

Ms Sparks said the annual display stirs up quite the conversation in the Maroona area, with pressure from locals to get the display up as soon as possible.

The lack of international shearers and a delayed timeline has meant it was only finished this week.

We were shearing, otherwise, we would have hoped to have had it up a week earlier. Everything ran into each other - we were harvesting, bailing hay, and shearing all at once,” she said.

“But we got it done. We try to provide a bit of entertainment for the community, a bit of fun. We love doing it.”

The display can be found on the Mortlake-Ararat Road between Ararat and Maroona, on the right-hand side when heading out of town.

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