The Victorian CWA has proved once again that it is much more than just a great lamington or sponge cake.
Descending on Kyabram in their hundreds on the weekend, members from across the state gave a welcome boost to the local economy as the town hall hosted the annual CWA Creative Arts Exhibition.
It was quite the coup for Kyabram — or icing on the cake, if you prefer.
Kyabram is one of only a handful of small towns to ever host the event, with bigger regional centres like Warrnambool or Yarrawonga usually nabbing the gig.
And as well as bringing some incredibly intricate and well-made produce, handmade crafts and floristry, it brought the crowds.
Much of Kyabram’s accommodation received a welcome boost in bookings and cafés along the main street, as well as premier attraction, the Kyabram Fauna Park, had some extra visitors.
‘‘Kyabram is a hidden gem set among dairy farms,’’ Goulburn Valley West CWA president Jenny Goonan told the crowd in her opening address.
‘‘I hope this weekend you come away with new ideas, new friends and new inspiration.’’
And there was plenty to be inspired about.
Among the award recipients were a number of green and blue star awards.
That means that the entry received at least 95 per cent in judging, that the comments did not mention anything negative, and that it passed one final inspection by the panel of judges.
This year, 10 were awarded — the maximum that can be handed out by judges.
Those 10 were among 1560 entries, more than ever before. Encouragingly, many were first time participants.
Organisers are hoping that’s a positive sign for bigger and better things in years to come.
CWA Creative Arts Committee chair Heather Scott was emphatic in thanking the volunteers and local members who made the event happen, particularly Kyabram’s own Doreen Napier.
‘‘Doreen has worked tirelessly to make this happen as soon as it was confirmed in Kyabram,’’ she said.
‘‘Every time I called her, she had a new sponsor or new development, she has been wonderful.’’
All 60 volunteers will be putting their feet up for a cuppa and a well-earned break this week after an incredible effort.
‘‘We go home exhausted, but we love it,’’ Ms Scott said.