Thirsty Merc rocks out to a crowd
THE weather was as fine as the Thirsty Merc song says on Sunday night - and it was almost "In the Summertime".
A warm-hearted Nelson Reserve crowd gave the Rush Festival headline band a lot more than 20 good reasons to shift into top gear.
It was more like 3500, the size of an over-the-top Gympie audience who gave all the reasons it could for the band to put on one of the most exciting live shows Gympie has seen.
It was the climax and the official end of Gympie region's month-long Rush Festival birthday party.
"I was so excited I was almost breathless," one enthusiastic Thirsty Merc fan said yesterday.
And after a weekend of country music at Widgee and the Mayoress's Conservatorium performance on Saturday, the free performances in Nelson Reserve were like icing on the region's birthday cake.
In some ways it was almost as much like Christmas as a birthday.
The Gympie community's party gift to itself was accompanied by an enormous amount of giving to others, including some of our own.
The giving started early in the month when Gympie dairy identity Ray Zerner returned from his trip out west with Mary Valley horse breeder Stan Johnson to deliver goodwill and help to struggling western Queensland families who have not seen rain for four years.
Then came the Gympie Muscle Muster, a fun body-building competition which raised money for Cancer Council Queensland's Relay for Life.
The enormous community support for popular "daddy blogger" Bruce Devereaux and his critically ill wife Tracey showed a community that cares deeply for its own.
It took to nearly the end of the month to get the good news about the recovery of Gympie dad Jamie Whyte, who started the month in a coma, after contracting pneumonia.
Then came the devastating news of two well-known Gympie residents, Nicole Daly and Jeremy Josefski, being killed in a car crash in New South Wales.
And so a month of celebration also became a month of compassion and practical support.
That mood also climaxed on the weekend with the massive record turn out of more than 11000 people in 85 teams in the Gympie Relay for Life.
The weather was not so fine overnight Saturday to Sunday morning for the big fundraising part of the Relay for Life, but that did not stop participants achieving record donations.