Festival shows community’s heart and soul

GET INVOLVED: Bec Browning and Annemaree Davis say the festival is a great family day. Photo: Gareth Gardner 060716GGB04
GET INVOLVED: Bec Browning and Annemaree Davis say the festival is a great family day. Photo: Gareth Gardner 060716GGB04

TAMWORTH’S Sports Dome will host the Festival of Abilities today, with wall-to-wall action for people of all ages.

The festival, which is a celebration of all abilities, will have activities specifically designed for those with a disability – but the wider community is en- couraged to come along and join in the fun.

Last year’s inaugural event was so successful, the festival has doubled the number of activities on offer. There will be dance lessons, blind sports, guide dog demonstrations, taekwondo, wheelchair basketball and rugby, arts and crafts, face painting, motorcycle rides and live music.

Deputy mayor Russell Webb said it was events like this that showed the region had “a heart and soul”. 

“What it’s doing is creating an atmosphere of inclusiveness,” Cr Webb said.

“The whole idea of the day is to get people who do have a disability, and their carers, to go there and have fun. It also encourages the community to go out there and interact with them.”

Cr Webb had a “wonderful time” at last year’s festival.

“Playing basketball in a wheelchair was bloody hard,” he said, laughing.

Cr Webb will get another shot at wheelchair basketball in the local celebrity match.

The event, which was created by the Pathfinders’ Ability Links program, also aims to connect those with a disability to local community groups.

Local linker Bec Browning said the festival helped people see how the other side lived. “It allows them to think outside the box in regards to what they could do to make life easier for those with a disability in their local community,” Ms Brown said.

“At some point in your life, somebody close to you will suffer a disability.

“Knowing the supports that are out there in the community is what the festival is all about.”