By Jessica Howard
The precious life of Lorraine Keene will be celebrated at this year’s Ballan Autumn Festival.
Lorraine lived in Ballan with her late husband Tom and passed away on September 14, 2017.
Following an idea that came to her in a dream, Lorraine became the brains behind this year’s Ballan Autumn Festival theme, Mad Hatters Tea Party.
Lorraine was an active member of the Ballan District Health and Care Aged Care Hostel social committee and was the inspiration behind the 2016 Priscilla High Tea Event hosted by the Ballan Autumn Festival Association and BDH&C.
Prior to her death, Lorraine was planning another high tea event when she approached the Ballan Autumn Festival committee with an idea.
“The BAF committee met with Lorraine after hearing she had a brilliant idea for the next High Tea Event,” Sharon Murphy, Entertainment Coordinator of the Ballan Autumn Festival Association said.
“The committee were blown away with the idea and decided to go one better – we’d make it the theme of the 2018 Festival.
“Lorraine was over the moon”.
Ballan District Health & Care Activities Manager, Colleen McLaughlin said the partnership between residents at BDH&C and the Ballan Autumn Festival Committee was amazing.
“The residents really enjoy being actively involved in the community, not only as participants but as creative leaders and innovative thinkers,” she said.
“We are lucky to have such dynamic seniors in Ballan – and to have such an inclusive Autumn Festival Committee.”
Held annually, the Ballan Autumn Festival is a celebration of local culture, creativity and community. In 2017, over 9,000 visitors attended the event.
In preparation for 2018, committee president Kevin Harper encouraged the community to start thinking about how they might bring Lorraine’s vision to life.
“Parade applications are now open online and given the high-standards of the past few years, I am really excited about what we may see in this year’s parade among the colourful floats themed by our schools and community groups,” he said.
“We again encourage the Ballan traders – to think about how they can embrace the Mad Hatters Tea Party theme and encourage festival goers in store”.
Mr Harper said the committee would be working with Ballan Country Women’s Association to host the first Mad Hatters cake decorating competition.
“Entries open Monday 22 January, so start thinking about your cake design now,” he said.
“There will be a people’s choice award and some great prizes up for grabs”.
More information on the festival will be released in the coming weeks. To keep updated, visit www.ballanautunfestival.org.
The Ballan Autumn Festival will be held in the Main street of Ballan on Sunday 18 March, 9am-4pm.