Locals came together for the festival

Oz Bayldon at the Come Together Festival. Photos: Rob Maccoll

By Margaret Maccoll

Perfect winter weather and exceptional talent drew thousands of people to Gympie Terrace over the weekend for the combined Noosa Come Together Festival and Noosa Busking Championships.

Come Together Festival organiser Oz Bayldon said the huge turnout made the event the most popular since it was first staged in 2016 when a group of locals joined together to raise enough funds to ensure the Sailability sailing program for children and adults with disabilities would continue on the Noosa River.

Oz has bigger plans for next year’s festival that include more activities for people with disabilities.

He said he expected proceeds from this year’s fundraiser would continue to cover the costs to run Sailability and to sponsor two horses to Sunshine Coast Riding for the Disabled (SCRDA).

SCRDA president Carolyn Neville said 130 people with disabilities currently attended the riding for the disabled program that is operated by about the same number of volunteers and 22 horses. The only paid staff being a horse manager and part time finance officer.

“From an assessment it is determined what type of program would suit them,“ she said.

Carolyn said people with a range of disabilities including physical, intellectual and visual attended with those in wheelchairs accommodated in their carriage drive program.

“We have young kids who are non-verbal and they start to speak,“ she said. “It helps with core strength. It’s a great therapy.“

SCRDA also operates an equine-assisted-learning program at its Verrierdale property to assist people with anxiety and stress related issues.

The Come Together Festival provides an affordable day out for local families and is enabled with the help of Rotary, sponsors including Laguna Realty and Coast 2 Coast Earthmoving and a team of volunteers.