GIVING BACK: Gemfest site manager Steve Carew has lived in Anakie for over 15 years and loves to volunteer at the annual event.
GIVING BACK: Gemfest site manager Steve Carew has lived in Anakie for over 15 years and loves to volunteer at the annual event. Taylor Battersby

Smiling faces are the best reward for crew

WITH an astonishing 7000-8000 people pouring through the gates of one of Australia's biggest gem festivals every year, the organisers must be doing something right.

Long-time Gemfest site manager Steve Carew - who has been part of the committee for 15 years - puts it down to the dedication of everyone involved with the annual festival.

"Personally, having the opportunity to be able to put on an event and see the smiling faces is enough for me. It really is,” Mr Carew said.

"To be able to put on this event - and for me, to be part of the team that owns it and builds it and runs it and makes it so successful - that's the most important thing for me.”

The four-day event, which runs every August, is also Mr Carew's way of giving back to the community.

"We all volunteer to do this. I want to give back to the community an event that's run not-for-profit, that's run successfully, and everybody goes home happy,” he said.

"It brings everyone together.

"We're about gems and if we can pull 7000-8000 people through the gates to look at stones, we're doing it right. We really are.”

And it's not just people from the Central Highlands who attend the event.

In his talks with people, Mr Carew met a couple from Esperance, in Western Australia, who said they travel over every year for Gemfest.

"I have two traders that do come up from Victoria and Tasmania - they come up every year for it,” Mr Carew said.

It was the traders, Mr Carew said, who were one of the best things about Gemfest.

"As far as the differences in people (exhibiting goes), the artisans are such a great addition to the event because not only is it the live show, it's another attraction for people to actually sit and watch,” he said.

"They (people) also get the opportunity to bid on those items they're making during the event.

" So those products are for people to take home if they want to.”

Speaking during Friday's events, Mr Carew said he couldn't wait to meet entertainment draw card Gina Jeffreys the next day.

"I can't wait to meet her - she's such a down to earth person,” he said.

"I'm a different kind of music person but there's a lot of people up here who like the country and western (music) and they will appreciate it big time.”


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