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Community Groups at Glenfest 2024

Dark clouds failed to dampen spirits at Glenfest '24

The 2024 Glenferrie Festival’s atmosphere was relaxed and cheerful amidst the broadly appealing food, drink, music, carnival rides and huge range of stalls. Staff at one of the more than 80 stalls remarked that “it’s the weather. We’re not sweating through 30+ degrees” as the cause of such a buoyant mood.

Live music enjoyed greater prominence this year with the feature of a small ‘main’ stage. However, the ever popular Itchy Feet Pep Band roamed the festival as usual, getting everyone bopping and singing along. Carnival ride fans got plenty of bang for their buck with their unlimited ride passes and our many community group's stalls offered imaginative interactive elements.

Each year community groups are welcomed by festival organisers, the Glenferrie Traders Association, to host a stall. Around 20 community groups were represented this year, including local schools, sports groups, charities, social groups, community services and advocacy groups. These often volunteer-run, organisations shine a spotlight on a multitude of activities, services and/or causes and for them, the festival provides an opportunity to actively engage with the community. The Glenferrie Times spoke to a selection of community groups that were at the 2024 Glenferrie Festival to find out a little about the important work they do.

SES Volunteers

State Emergency Services (SES)

The SES rely on continued membership and donations. Volunteer, Angus explained, “At present we have around 50 local Hawthorn members.” The SES needs little introduction, however the roles they play can vary wildly from week to week. “We are involved in any number of emergency responses, including the preservation of accident scenes to allow the police to conduct uninterrupted forensic analysis; the clearing up of fallen and damaged trees following severe winds as well as search and rescue.”

Hawthorn RSL members stall

Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL)

RSL branches are communities that are an essential support network in which friendships are formed around a first-hand understanding of what it truly means to engage in war and peacekeeping. Iraq war veteran and Vice-President, Eamon praised the exceptional community he has found as a member of Hawthorn RSL. He said, “The festival gives us a chance to remind the broader community that veterans are not only found in old sepia photos but include fresh-faced young men and women.”

The Hawthorn RSL will be hosting their traditional ANZAC Day Dawn Service on Thursday 25 April, 5:45am arrival for 6:00am service commencement at the Hawthorn War Memorial in St James Park. Followed by a gunfire breakfast (donations appreciated) at the Hawthorn Bowls Club, next to the park at 1 Wood Street - all welcome. Hawthorn RSL, 605 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, will be open from 12pm for veterans and the their families.

Servants Community Housing representatives Jayden and Kat

Servants Community Housing

Servants Community Housing is a local community housing provider, ensuring people at risk of homelessness have respect, dignity, hope and opportunity. Jayden explains, “Our purpose is to help people find long-term housing and a safe community they can belong and contribute to.” Servants utilised the festival to promote their emerging social enterprise ‘For The Love of Good’ – a line of products, honey and slightly sparkling apple juice, created by staff, residents and volunteers of Servants Community Housing.

Hawthorn Magic club members demonstrate some ball skills

Hawthorn Magic

Hawthorn Magic, a local basketball club in collaboration with their sponsor McDonald’s Hawthorn, saw the festival as an opportunity to give kids a chance to try out their basketball skills and shoot some hoops to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities. Jess, General Manager Hawthorn Magic, proclaimed the festival as ‘highly successful’, “We got to meet lots of people new to Basketball Hawthorn and our representative team. We had plenty of people register for more information on the day, so we look forward to welcoming them into our basketball community.”

ABC Friends stall

ABC Friends

A regular fixture for many years, ABC Friends sprung up in support of keeping the ABC properly funded and not privatised. This festival, they were literally ‘beating the drum’ in support for the return of talk-back themed discussion program, The Drum which was recently cancelled. A spokesman for the organisation said, “we have a surprisingly positive response… community focused programming is important to a lot of people.”

Bikers Against Child Abuse stall

Bikers Against Child Abuse

Motorcycle ‘gangs’ might be one of the more commonly misunderstood groups, but their presence at the festival under the banner Bikers Against Child Abuse, stated that these “outlaw tough guys” had hearts of gold. Perhaps surprising to some, this group frequently liaise with police in their efforts to provide support and mentorship to victims of child abuse. Their mission statement is to 'send a clear message to all involved with the abused child, that this child is under their protection. They wish to empower abused children to not be fearful of the world and to feel included within a united, supportive organisation. The BACA proudly state they ‘do not condone the use of violence’ but are ‘prepared to be obstacles’ to abuse if needed.

Locals had plenty to smile about at this year's Glenfest

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