ONE of the undoubted highlights of Bathurst’s annual community calendar swung into action over the weekend.
The Bathurst Eisteddfod has been running for more than 70 years and is one of the biggest eisteddfods in regional NSW.
Over the next three weeks, thousands of performers – young and old – will take to the stage to strut their stuff.
Some will be seasoned performers well versed with the thrill of a live show but many will be undertaking their only public performance of the year.
And that's what makes the eisteddfod so special.
It is the opportunity for those who might never see – or pursue – the spotlight to take their turn on centre stage.
For young performers, in particular, it is the chance to learn new skills and experience new thrills, usually in the safe company of their friends and teachers from school.
Eisteddfod performances can teach young children much about the value of teamwork and the rewards of a collective focus on a single goal.
Not every performer will be a winner but every performer will be better for having taken part.
Of course, an event the size of this does not just happen.
The eisteddfod has been months in the planning and over the next three weeks a committed band of volunteers will give up hundreds of hours of their own time for the benefit of others.
It is a daunting but very impressive operation.
And, quite simply, the eisteddfod would not happen without them.
If you have ever wondered what is the true meaning of community, then this is it.
And if you have ever wondered about the real value of living in a regional city like Bathurst, this is also it.
There is a good reason why eisteddfods tend to thrive more in the bush than in metropolitan areas. Smaller towns and cities are better able to foster the sense of community needed for people to come forward to volunteer the time to make these events work.
We see it in countless ways each year – from those volunteering their time to help the eisteddfod to junior sporting coaches and even the hundreds of Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service volunteers who are there to help when needed most.
Thank you to them all.