A welcome to Millicent expo on Friday night drew a gathering of 300 to the Millicent War Memorial Civic and Arts Centre. Staged by the Millicent and Surrounds Health Support Group, newcomers could glean information about sporting clubs, community groups and support services during the drop-in event which ran for two hours.
Organisers and participants gave a resounding ‘thumbs up’ to the novel promotional event. Among those to man the 47 information stalls were representatives of Red Cross, Millicent Choral Society and the South East Family History Group.
Representatives of government and health service providers were also in attendance along with fire appliances and volunteer firefighters from the Millicent CFS. Wattle Range Mayor Des Noll and Millicent Business Community Association vice-president and local real estate agent Fiona Telfer were among the guest speakers.
Generous donations from local sponsors were used as door prizes while sponsorship also met the costs of a barbecue, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. MASH Support Group chairman Trevor Sinclair said his organisation was delighted that almost 50 local organisations accepted the invitation to promote their activities.
Mr Sinclair said he was pleased at the number of newcomers to Millicent who attended. He has not ruled out running another Millicent Expo. “The group will sit down and review the night,” Mr Sinclair said. “In the past, our group has run morning teas to welcome doctors and medical personnel to Millicent.
“We decided to run the expo for all newcomers and to let them know what is here. “Figures show that 200 houses changed hands in Millicent in 2019 and 2020.”
Millicent Gliding Club chief flying instructor John Marshall was full of praise for the MASH Support Group for taking the initiative. “I wonder why something like this has not been done in the past,” Mr Marshall said. He screened video clips of gliders in action and a number of expo-goers expressed an interest in joining his club which is based at the Millicent airport.
Millicent Lions Club president Brenton McMillan said his service club filled a dual purpose at the function. “Everything for the barbecue was supplied and we provided the labour to cook and serve the food,” Mr McMillan said. “Our club currently has 47 members and we are always looking for others to join us.”
A significant number of the newcomers to Millicent are retirees including former Goolwa couple Dorothy and Trevor Newell. “We came to Millicent for a ‘tree change’ and we are here for a look tonight,” Mr Newell said.
Meanwhile, expo attendees Trudy and Murray Hannaford swapped the Riverland for Millicent in 2020. Mr Hannaford said the COVID pandemic protocols meant they opted to spend most of their time since arriving in Millicent on house renovations.
He said the expo would show them what was on offer in Millicent. Fellow new arrivals Sue and Dennis Smith said their time at the Millicent Expo was well spent. “We are keen bird watchers and we learned about the existence of the Millicent Field Naturalists Club,” they said.
It was the first time in more than 20 years that an event dubbed as an “expo” had been staged in Millicent. The last occasion was a mostly trade fair promoted by the Millicent Rotary Club over a weekend at the Peter Seebohm Basketball Stadium at McLaughlin Park.