Ararat celebrated Australia Day in style with music, food and fun by the pool at Alexandra Gardens.
The day started with the Australia Day Awards held at Alexandra Oval Community Centre, followed by music in the park and free access to the outdoor pool.
Deputy mayor Cr Bob Armstrong welcomed residents to the events held in Ararat.
"Australia Day is a day for people from every walk of life to reflect, respect and celebrate all things we love about our country and our community," he said.
The awards were presented to members of the community in four categories:
Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Community Project of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.
"Many individuals and organisations have made an enormous contribution to our community," Cr Sanders said.
"The awards not only recognise contributions within the community, but the ongoing commitment undertaken by all individuals for the benefit of the community."
One of the most respected couples in the region, Dr Derek Pope and Jan Pope, were recognised as Citizens of the Year.
Dr Pope has been recognised for his enormous contribution to the community's health in his service as a GP for over 36 years, and Jan Pope has provided steadfast support and is distinguished by her voluntary work as a driving force behind Ararat's creative community.
Young Citizen of the Year was awarded to Jaylen Stephens for her cheerful and passionate voice throughout the Western Bulldogs Youth Leadership project.
Shane Jenkins was recognised for his tireless work as president of the Ararat and District Junior Football Association.
Community Project of the Year was awarded to the Willaura Modern Committee for persevering with their successful visual arts exhibitions at Willaura Railway Station, including the 'Sense of Place' project and the Iconic Australian Design exhibit.
Celebrations continued at Alexandra Gardens with music in the park featuring local artists Parso and FYI, food trucks and free access to the outdoor pool.
Resident Karly Harris said it was good to celebrate Australia Day with family and friends.
"It is nice the council puts on events for the Ararat public to go to," she said.
"People complain there is not always a lot for people to go to.
"So it is good we have a chance to get together and support local music and enjoy the festivities."
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