ROMA EASTER: William and James Neven with the Easter Bunny at this year's Easter in the Country.
ROMA EASTER: William and James Neven with the Easter Bunny at this year's Easter in the Country. Ellen Ransley

Biggest Easter in history becomes the pride of Roma

FROM humble beginnings, Roma's beloved Easter in the Country has grown to be far more than festival founder Noel Miller could have ever dreamed.

Forty-two years on from the first festival, this is the biggest yet, and Mr Miller is proud of how his home town has nurtured it over the decades.

"(In the beginning) I always had an idea that Roma emptied out at Easter, so we should do something keep everyone here and bring people here,” he said.

"Wattles football club badly needed a clubhouse at the time and they took on the festival, so that's how it happened.

"It was pretty basic in those days, and Jenny (Flynn) has done an incredible job at keeping it going and making it grow - she has been amazing.”

Mr Miller returned to Easter in the Country this year, tasked with opening the festival and judging the art show on Wednesday night. He has an incredible sense of pride not just for his part in the festival but for his home town and all of the people who continue the tradition of Easter in the Country.

"It is nice to be the founder of something like this and that people remember me but I think all of the credit goes to an amazing town and a town which has been through a few hard times lately.

"It is a testament to the strength and loyalty of Roma people, that they have made this festival into what it is today.

"Keeping things like this going is so difficult in the bush and I am amazed at the way Jenny has revived Easter in the Country.”

"Before she took it on, it was sort of dwindling down; you see a lot of festivals in small towns which just need that one person who is going to push them.

"The interesting thing is, Jenny was just a kid when I started Easter in the Country and it is so lovely to see someone who was just helping on the sidelines as a kid now running it.

"I can't speak highly enough of her.”

Mrs Flynn is far more modest about her role as president of Easter in the Country and is already planning for next year, but said the love for the festival and community spirit was what kept her coming back to run the show.

"I do it for the community and for the economic value to our town because every dollar spent here is worth three times that amount.

"Easter in the Country is special to me and I think it is for a lot of people who have lived in Roma for a long time; it is always something that you do.”


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