Monday June 2, 2014
We started up so small and so quietly too.
Even before the first Gibson Street Gala (in 2003 in fact) local residents held an event called “Bard in the Backcourt” snippets of Shakespeare were performed by actors promoting their show in the Botanic Gardens. This subsequently inspired the idea of holding an annual tenement fair -but it was just for neighbours and friends at that time.
In 2005, Michael, the West End Festival Director, arranged for Gibson Street to be closed for the gala day. That first event had only a few attractions but the sun shone and hundreds of people descended on the neighbourhood. Visitors appreciated the small steps we had taken to make this area better and we gained confidence. It was a wonderful community atmosphere and this is the magical element which has endured and grown as the Gibson Street Gala has become a regular loved local event each June.
Every year planning begins in January when a group of local residents and businesses start the process of raising funds and planning attractions. Individuals and small groups take on different aspects of the Gala, developing events and activities which will be on offer. There is a co-operative community spirit and lots of hard graft to make it happen
The organisers are all volunteers and work hard over a number of months to raise funds in order to have a great Gala day.
These fundraising endeavours make it possible to offer free activities and free entertainment for children as from the start this has been what the community made the priority.
The trials and tribulations of health and safety rules and regulations have over the years led to great debates and at the time, tears & snotters, but we have risen to the challenge. The tumbling stilt walker, the parasols sailing down into the river, the local power cut... all are distant memories now.
The pathway to holding a gala in the city streets is fraught with challenge. Last year we changed date when a national cycle race sped into town. So we now try for the first Sunday in June and hope in the future we are blessed by sunshine just as we were at the very first Gibson Street Gala.
Blog post by Jakki Fennessy and Eric Kay, GSG organisers