By Mikayla van Loon
The Lilydale Township Action Group (LTAG) is looking ahead to a busy summer period with lots of events planned free for the community to enjoy.
Coming up first is the Carols in the Park on Saturday 16 December with a special lineup of singers and a visit from Santa on the fire truck.
To be hosted at Melba Park from 6pm to 8pm, LTAG secretary Sharyn Manning said “weather permitting, we’ll screen The Grinch after the carols” as part of the outdoor cinema.
Should the weather be “wet and windy” the showing of this Christmas favourite will be pushed to 22 December.
Not to worry, rain, hail or shine, Sharyn said “the carols won’t be cancelled” and can be guaranteed to go ahead despite the weather.
Following the festive spirit, LTAG will put on five Fun and Film events in Melba Park, all being well weather wise.
The current scheduled dates are for Friday 29 December, Saturday 6 January, Saturday 13 January, Saturday 20 January and Saturday 27 January.
“We will post each date a few weeks in advance with the details of the movie we are showing, so watch our Facebook page closely, as events are subject to cancellation or reschedule due to unsuitable weather conditions,” Sharyn said.
Then come the break of the new year, the LTAG committee and volunteers will be working on the final touches for a new event called Big Day at the Lake – a free community music festival.
Sharyn said she had always wanted to hold a music event in Lilydale but knew “Melba Park wasn’t big enough”.
“We received funding from the Lilydale Revilatisation Board and we’ve never done anything at Lillydale Lake before,” she said.
“Yarra Ranges Council has always loved that we’ve done things in the park because it helps activate it but we wanted to do something bigger.”
With musicians like Anthony Gerace and Fiction Cover Band already on the line up for the Saturday 4 February, Sharyn said it will be a great show of local talent throughout the afternoon.
In an aim to make Big Day more accessible, Sharyn said LTAG will be trialling a new element by “providing a quiet place particularly for people who are neurodiverse”.
A tent will be filled with bean bags and games or activities for children and adults to use for a long time or short if they need a break from the loudness of the music.
“It would usually be that if people or children didn’t like loud music, you just wouldn’t go to the event but then that prevents the rest of the family or group from going too,” Sharyn said.
“We’re going to give it a go. We’re not sure if it will be used or sought after but it’s somewhere people can go if they need.”
At each of these events, food by way of snacks or a barbecue will be provided for free, with water and soft drinks usually always available too.
“We always apply for funding for food because families are struggling enough as it is.
“I have had families come up to me and say they wouldn’t have been able to come if it wasn’t for the free food because the cost would have stopped them.”
With great responses and feedback from the community, Sharyn said “all our film nights have been fantastic” and “people come once and just keep coming back”.
Although the first time putting on carols and a larger music event, like the one in February, Sharyn said it brings life to the town over the holidays.
“A few years ago the holiday period would have been dead, with not much happening at all,” she said.
Keep an eye on the Lilydale Township Action Group Facebook page or to volunteer at one of the events, contact email@example.com