Businesses in the historic township of Braidwood have taken a battering. The start of their peak season was flattened by a Telstra outage which left them without point of sale facilities over the Braidwood Festival weekend. The impact was devastating to many of the businesses, some of whom saw thousands of dollars walking out of the door. This was closely followed by the North Black Range fire and the Currowan fire, which left the entire region under threat and closed off access for through traffic. Braidwood had become a cul-de-sac that no one was driving into.
Small, most family owned businesses are the backbone of a rural town. They provide employment, support local organisations and charities, and are the volunteers on the ground helping fight fires, feed evacuated families and fire crews, and put out food for wildlife. When a local business closes, the whole town feels the impact.
Braidwood businesses were determined not to let that happen to their town. When it became clear that they were not in the line of sight to get assistance from charities or government, they decided they needed to take urgent action. The “more than a cul-de-sac” event was born.
Organised by the local business chamber, the town is opening its arms to welcome visitors over the long weekend. “The aim is to have something for everyone” says Braidwood Business Chamber Chair, Suzanne Gearing. “Children can join the busking competition and follow a scavenger hunt, there are shopping trails with the chance to win a box full of Braidwood gifts, musos can busk and vie for a trophy, you can buy a firie a beer at the pub, find a treasure at the book fair …. the local businesses have gone all out to make sure visitors have fun and feel welcome”.
Fundraising continues into Sunday night, with Canberra’s own “ole blue eyes” Tony Haley volunteering to perform free of charge at the Braidwood Servicemens’ Club. Rock and roll fans are encouraged to come along and dance the night away, and dig deep to support the “more than a cul-de-sac” effort. “It’s a great opportunity to head into town with your caravan and campervan, stay Sunday night at the Club and then spending a lazy day wandering the trails in Braidwood or testing your skills on the golf course”, enthuses Chamber treasurer Neil White, “and if you aren’t a fan of crooners and rock and roll, the pubs have some great entertainment planned”.a
The event starts 10am Saturday 25th January and continues through to 3pm on Monday 27th.