SMALL communities across the Wimmera are packing a real punch when it comes to innovation and engagement.
Just in the past week, initiatives within towns such as Halls Gap, Nhill and Rainbow are striking a chord with not only residents of those towns, but the wider region.
Wimmera Mail-Times reporters have this week shared the excitement as Nhill prepares to launch its first ever parkrun.
Parkrun – a free weekly, five-kilometre walk, run or jog – has gained a massive following around the world. The latest location in Nhill stemmed from the initiative of 80-year-old Bev Rethus, who will witness the fruits of 12 months of labour this weekend.
While parkrun has gained great support in other regions, the Wimmera is home to just two locations – Nhill and Ararat.
The beauty of this event is that it is open to all ages and abilities and it utilises existing running and walking tracks – with the added benefits to health as well as social opportunities. The chance to extend it to other areas is there for the taking.
Nhill has also resumed its Friday fiesta series, which attracts hundreds of people to Nhill Lake for a night of entertainment and merriment while providing people with a chance to meet new residents to the town.
Not too far from Nhill, a brewery will soon open in what seems an unlikely location.
The population of Rainbow might be small, but its latest venture the Rainbow Brewery has generated strong interest.
The brewery, which will be capable of producing up to 40,000 litres of beer a week once fully operational, will be located alongside the Eureka Hotel.
Owner Shane Brown’s idea has meant more than two years of development – but now his equipment is on its way and brewing will start within months.
Meanwhile, Halls Gap Music Festival organisers have rounded out the event’s second installment with success. Organisers identified a gap in the market and are giving Wimmera people a chance to enjoy great music in their own backyard – and are being rewarded in droves.
It is innovation such as these events and developments, paired with faith in the region and what it can, or should, offer that can bring great things.
No change is without risk, but no change can occur without those first steps – developing a plan and having a go.
May this progression inspire others to have confidence in their own leap of faith.