Gemfest a 'huge party'
THE Gemfields local Linda Drake was part of the Gemfest - Festival of Gems committee for 30 years, since its inception in 1988.
Even though she has retired from her role in the committee, Ms Drake does not plan on missing out on the magic of Gemfest.
"They say from small beginnings and, from comparison to how many traders we have now, it was a small beginning for Gemfest,” she said.
"However it was always a big event for the community and the businesses.
"The first three years we raised funds for the flying doctor services because they used to fly into Rubyvale and offer their services.
"After three years they were no longer required to come here any more and so we decided to make the aim of Gemfest a promotion for The Gemfields.
"There are still traders here today that were at the first event. They come here every year from all over the country.”
She said the heart and soul of Gemfest had always been the people and the camaraderie.
"It is a time that everyone comes back,” she said.
"We are such a transient community, people come and they might live here for a few years or for the winter and then go back home.
"The thing about Gemfest is you come and meet up with old friends and it's a huge party. People in The Gemfields know how toparty.
"The heart and soul of Gemfest has never changed.”
Ms Drake has enjoyed many fond memories over the years.
However she said "it was really something when we were a finalist in the National Tourism Awards”.
"Gemfest had won the Regional Significant Local Festivals and Events Award in 1995, which then puts you into the state awards,” she said.
"The Gemfest president at that time was Peter Vanden Borg. He and I represented Gemfest at the Convention Centre in Brisbane and when they announced us as the winner, it was so exciting.
"Queensland Events then paid for us to go to the national awards. The Port Fairy Folk Festival took out the award.”
Ms Drake is very proud of what Gemfest has become today.
"It makes me joyful to see that it is all running nicely and everybody has a smile on their face,” she said.