ROCKING IT: Children were kept occupied while parents got to enjoy their wine in peace at the Maclean Riverside Picnic on Saturday.
ROCKING IT: Children were kept occupied while parents got to enjoy their wine in peace at the Maclean Riverside Picnic on Saturday. Contributed

Riverside picnic welcomes McLachlan Park redevelopment

THE first Maclean Riverside Picnic has been declared a smashing success by attendees and organisers, with plans to hold at least two more later in the year.

"We counted 140 people over three hours and a large cross-section of people, which was a great result,” organiser Phil Nicholas said.

"But what was most important to me was that the community came together to enjoy a piece of the Clarence.”

Mr Nicholas, who has a background in event planning and management, designed the Saturday evening event around the notion of making it accessible to anyone.

"There was no payment to get in and people could turn up with their own food and blanket if they wished or if they wanted a 'picnic pack', which included a blanket and some food, then they could do that too,” he said.

Even parents were factored in with the inclusion of a makeshift art studio to keep the young ones occupied.

"We had Kerrie (Howland) from Yamba Art Space keeping them entertained brilliantly with rock painting under the yurt while the parents could enjoy a glass of wine without being bothered,” he said.

"That went down really well.”

Mr Nicholas said the event reflected council's vision for what this space could provide.

"When this event was happening, that's when it dawned on me - this is something that council envisaged by putting in various facilities for the community to enjoy.”

Mr Nicholas said he welcomed a collaboration with Yaegl elders for upcoming picnics.

"They're really keen about getting involved, so for the March picnic the elders will have a Welcome to Country and tell stories of the river,” he said.

The next two riverside picnics are to be held on Saturday, February 16, and Saturday, March 16.