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Char’s: A Global Gathering

 

WOW – what a day!! Exhausting, exciting, amazing – there’s no doubt that it was a massive day.

It started early Sunday morning (March 1st, 2015) with jumbo coffees for the team, a quick chat and a hook up to our walkie talkies (the most exciting part) before the marquee men arrived at 8am with the 3 big marquees for the information hubs along Bridge Road. As Kathy and Meg were installing the sinage at the main hub (town hall), I quickly jumped in the truck, feeling like James Bond with my walkie talkie ear piece, and travelled up Bridge Road to Harvey Norman to install a marquee there, someone had clearly had a rowdy Saturday night as I was greeted with some chunkies on the footpath – nothing like a gross hiccup to start the day! Although, Craig form Harvey was already all over it with some hot soapy water – we just hoped that person would recover from, what must’ve been, a nasty hangover and come to A Global Gathering!

We managed to squeeze the Harvey Norman marquee in (don’t worry I had measured it but some did doubt my measuring skills) – whilst still adhering to the strict 0.7m kerbside buffer zone and 1.5m walkway set by the City of Yarra council (it legitimately just fit – PHEW!). Back to the truck and up to Punt where the 3rd, and biggest marquee was proped up.

Then it was back to the Town Hall main hub to meet up with our fab volunteers for briefing.

The volunteers were divided into teams and sent to their hubs manned with a Hub box (filled with goodies like lollies, runsheets, sticky tape, contact sheets and panadol) a team leader and of course the infamous walkie talkies. By then it was 10am and Bridge Road was really starting to heat up – people were arriving having a sticky beak, collecting their passports to then return later in the day – so the volunteers were already inundated with queries from passer bys.

Michael, from Bank of Queensland came with a big smile and 2 additions to our Kids Zone out the front of the Town Hall, which was the fairy floss and popcorn machines – a really fab addition to the day. He also had entry forms to win $5K cash prize (yes – of course I entered! Keep your fingers crossed for me!) He was immediately smothered in kids and people and added a total buzz to the atmosphere – I had to even lend him some volunteers to spin fairy floss (which they didn’t mind).

Our Tuk-tuks arrived, which were a fantastic addition to the day making the cultural experience even more in depth. Immediately the boys were on the bikes riding people around – I actually don’t remember them stopping at all throughout the day.

The entertainment arrived at the Town Hall – and this really did mean the day was beginning! For me, the excitment was buzzing as I showed the acts to the green room so that they could get prepared for their first performances that started at 12pm. The lovely girls from Polka Dot Entertainment (the facepainters) arrived shortly after and as I started to set them up the ques were forming.

The rest of the day was a complete blur – so much happened and I felt like the day went so quickly!

It felt like we had really bought a crowd to Bridge Road and everyone was so enthusiastic about Bridge Road transforming it was hard to get anything done with the amount of pedestrians, traders and locals that were chatting to me about how shocked they were that Bridge Road was alive again. “it’s never been like this on a Sunday” “I can’t believe how many people are here”. Traffic was slow, the atmosphere was pumping and it certainly was pumping the adreneline through our team.

The mayor even attended! He had some photos taken and I even saw him stop for some fairy floss – who wouldn’t!

All of a sudden – we were virtually out of passports and entry forms, most of the traders had completely run out of their original $5 dishes and the day was over!

Elated after pack down I went to the beautiful Cafe Azul to return the trays from the food they provided for the volies. I was greeted by some screwed but very very happy staff – who virtually clapped my entrance. This was by far the highlight of the day – getting the amazing news that Cafe Azul had their biggest trading day on record – MASSIVE!

Seeing months of work not just come to fruition but be a total and absolute success is an unexplainable, incredible feeling!

I think I’m going to go take a 78hour sleep now

Ciao,

сбогом,

αντίο,

さようなら,

Slán,

Vale,

Lots & Lots of love,

Char xo