GOLDEN CELEBRATION: Church elder Jynette Brumpton and granddaughter Ellie Hasemann.
GOLDEN CELEBRATION: Church elder Jynette Brumpton and granddaughter Ellie Hasemann. Contributed

Stirring up the old traditions

THE Banana Uniting Church's Golden Jubilee and May Markets will reinvigorate an old tradition this year with a plum pudding auction - only this time it's a men's-only contest.

Julie Ballentine, a member of the Uniting Church and organiser for the May 4 jubilee celebration, said the church had a proud history of auctioning Christmas fruit puddings but hadn't done so for the past five years.

Now the region's menfolk are being invited to make a pudding and enter it in the jubilee competition.

"The church used to run the Banana Christmas tree for years and the Banana Church, the first weekend in December, would auction off the plum puddings after a plum pudding competition,” Ms Ballentine said.

She said the competition and auction had been going for 20 years before the tradition stopped about five years ago.

"So they thought it would be good to bring it back,” she said, "and the puddings are going to be auctioned off again as well.

"I know there are a few farmers who are keen - one pudding is even being cooked in a camp oven.”

Ms Ballentine said the May markets would feature a variety of local stallholders who would offer local produce and plants and creative crafts.

There will also be a sausage sizzle, a free jumping castle and a merry- go-round.

A special feature will be a historical fashion parade. Bridal gowns and fashion from throughout the ages will be modelled.

"This is the 50th anniversary of the church and it's the only church that has ever been in Banana,” Ms Ballentine said.

"It's a special thing for the community.

"The church supports the community and, through the changing times, it's still a relevant community meeting place.

"It's important that we have these places and spaces that are multi-generational, where everyone is welcome to come and be welcome and feel part of a community.

"I think that's what makes small communities very special in our rural area.”

Ms Ballentine said that after her home burned down in 2016, the congregation, as well as the whole community, had been "amazingly supportive”.

She said the church was a genuine support for people in need, as well as a place that celebrated "the joy of being with other people”.

"There's lots of times in our society where we only speak to our own generation - we don't speak multi- generationally and that's what the beauty of an organisation like this is,” she said.

"It's three or four different generations of people who are coming together and talking about the drought and sharing experiences and commonalities, and that experience of, 'Well, we got through that.'

"It's remembering how people get through those bad times and providing the support by knowing that those times will end.”

For anyone keen to organise a jubilee day stall, call Gail Johnstone on 0427329 074.

Puddings for the male-only contest can be delivered before the day or by 10am on market day for judging.

The Golden Jubilee and May Markets will be held on May 4, from 9am-2pm at the Banana Uniting Church grounds.

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