THE SECOND Sunday of each month, Kooralbyn RSL holds a market day in Billabong Park, but two things made the October markets stand out from the others: the number of children enjoying the newly installed play equipment and the live music that served as a magnet to passers-by.
Musician Russell Atkins said he was no stranger to singing with family, having played in pubs, clubs and country music events across Queensland as part of a six-piece show band with his brothers.
“But market day was a dream come true for me because it was something I had been hoping for these past 15 or 20 years,” he said.
“I got to perform with my son Christian and my daughter Rebecca and having them both by my side meant more to me than singing.”
Mr Atkins said stallholders and locals had loved the live music and told him it lifted the atmosphere at the markets.
“It was heartening to see the kids getting involved and everyone dancing,” he said.
“It wasn’t something we really planned too much in advance, we just thought we’d take our guitars and a couple of microphones and see if we could entertain some people.
“It was a bit of a trial run to break the ice and see if people enjoyed it, but we’ll definitely be bringing our guitars to market day every month from now on.”
Dylan Chidgey, president of the Kooralbyn Valley Community Development Association, said he was involved in the markets this month too.
“I just noticed market day was usually a bit quiet so I had a chat with Russell about some music and then I advertised it on Facebook and it got 6,000 hits,” he said.
“We’ve also arranged for Bryce from Kooralbyn Reptile Relocation to come along next market day and set up his education booth to teach locals what to do if they encounter a snake.
“He might even bring along a python or two because they are quite friendly so the kids can touch them under supervision.
“The music was definitely a hit with market-goers, stallholders said they noticed people were singing along and having a bit of a dance – and if Facebook comments are anything to go by, we need to always have dancing in the park.”