The festivities continued on Friday as NAIDOC Week drew to a close, with organisations coming together to host a community event jam-packed with free fun and food for families. Members of the Geraldton Justice Community Network helped to celebrate NAIDOC Week last week as families gathered at Edith Cowan Square between 11am and 2pm. The event began with a welcome to country performed by David Ronan, while Leroy Shiosaki played the didgeridoo. Raymond Dann hoisted the flags and a smoking ceremony was held. Plenty of fun for the kids was on offer, as stall holders set up under the gazebo and offered cupcake decorating, rock painting, colouring in, face painting and freebies. Mr Shiosaki said each year more people were celebrating NAIDOC Week and he noticed the event was growing in popularity. “I’ve been doing this for about a few years in a row, it’s good to see every year the crowd grows a bit bigger and bigger by the year,” he said. Nola Gregory, who presented a poem at the event, said there was a great turnout this year and welcomed the mixture of nationalities who attended. “It’s good mixing with everybody — both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people — it’s good to get all of the community involved,” she said. “Celebrating our culture is the most important thing, we get to celebrate it for a whole week.” “I’m a passionate poet and I always do theme poems for NAIDOC every year. This one was really special because it was about our elders and I have a lot of elders in this community that have had a big influence on my life.” Mr Dann agreed, saying he had noticed an abundance of non-Aboriginal people celebrating NAIDOC Week. “I think the weather might have kept a few people away but apart from that it’s been a pretty good event,” he said. Mid West-Gascoyne district engagement support unit Sen. Sgt Russell Hurst said more than six officers from Geraldton police participated in the NAIDOC event, helping to celebrate what the week meant for the community. “Just being involved is a good opportunity for us to bridge any gaps we have between police and the local community and make sure we move towards the right direction of reconciliation and everyone getting along,” he said. Mr Ronan said it was good for the community to see police engaging in the cultural celebration. “It’s good for the community, I suppose, to liaise with the police and build that relationship up,” he said. Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Services hosted a range of NAIDOC events last week, including a lightshow, big breakfast, bingo day and youth ball. The theme of the 2023 event was For Our Elders.