Moree community encouraged to vote for Country Children's Festival to be funded through My Community Projects grant

Moree children are excited about the Country Kids Festival. Photo: contributed
Moree children are excited about the Country Kids Festival. Photo: contributed

With only a few days left of voting for the My Community Projects program, Moree man Byron Phillips is hoping the local community can get behind his proposal for a regional-first inclusive family pop culture street festival, being planned for next year.

Mr Phillips hopes to hold the inaugural Country Kids Festival in Moree on Saturday, September 5, 2020, to promote the range of children's services and activities in the region.

The idea is to turn Moree's Civic Precinct into kids' central, with parts of Balo and Heber streets (from Town Hall to the NAB, and down to Bank Art Museum Moree) to be closed to traffic as the area is transformed into a place where children can have fun and let their imaginations run wild.

There'll be roving street performers and Cosplayers dressed as every hero and pop culture character imaginable, as well as performances, interactive workshops, demonstrations, displays, food and information stalls.

"It's a completely unique festival for the whole region; there's nothing like it across the New England North West," Mr Phillips said.

"The idea is to bring pop culture to bush and country kids who wouldn't normally get to experience it.

"The festival aims to link up all kids'-based activities in our town - sport, art or education based - to promote what's out there for kids. It's also to boost mental health and morale with the drought; a lot of children are absorbing the worries of their parents, so I want this to put back imagination and smiles on kids' faces when see their favourite hero or princess walking towards them.

Thomas Phillips is all ready for the Country Kids Festival. Photo: contributed

Thomas Phillips is all ready for the Country Kids Festival. Photo: contributed

"The main thing is to promote inclusive access, regardless of ability or cultural background."

As word spreads and the ideas for the festival grow, more and more people are putting up their hands to be involved.

Bank Art Museum Moree have offered the gallery space for children's activities, while the BAMM garden will be transformed into a magical fairy garden, with a jumping castle and face painting.

The Children's International Film Festival will be bringing children's films from around the world to the festival, at no cost. Meanwhile, stilt walkers from Queensland have come on board, walkabout artists will be turning the pavements into works of art, and Moree-based puppet group Kool Critters Club will be bringing fantastical creatures to pat and have a selfie with. Moree Youth Council will also help promote the festival.

Mr Phillips has also started a campaign to bring Thor, God of Thunder, aka Chris Hemsworth, to Moree for the festival, through the hashtag #thormoree.

"It was my daughter Harmony's idea," he said.

"We thought, 'how cool would it be to get the God of Thunder to come to Moree to ease the drought?' So I started the hashtag for Moree. It might take a while to get to him, but it'd be a massive drawcard for tourism too, to have Chris Hemsworth come. So we'll see."

One of the most exciting developments is that pre-visuals and measurements have been taken of Town Hall, to create a 3D mapping light show during the three nights leading up to the festival.

"Each night a Vivid-style narrative will be projected onto the building," Mr Phillips said.

"It will be a stunning way to celebrate our region and cultural heritage. Sponsors will also be able to have their names lit up. There has been nothing done on this scale in a regional area before."

This is currently the biggest expense in Mr Phillips' proposal, which is why he's hoping to receive $200,000 through the My Community Project grant funding, to make it happen.

READ MORE ABOUT OTHER MY COMMUNITY PROJECT FUNDING APPLICANTS:

"If we don't get the full amount, we'll just do the festival and aim for the vivid lights next time," Mr Phillips said.

"If we do get the full amount, we can go for the complete wow factor."

To make this festival come alive, Mr Phillips encourages the Moree community to go to mycommunityproject.service.nsw.gov.au to vote now.

Grants will be awarded to the projects that receive the most support via community votes. Voting closes on Thursday, August 15.