“Here in the Manangadang Valley we value tradition and authenticity above all else. Our methods and ingredients date back hundreds of years – well our ingredients don’t. They come up on a truck every Tuesday and Saturday from Bellingary. But the way we deal with them draws on ancient methods, honed by generations from all over the Valley and still standing up to scrutiny today.

We have a saying here in the Valley; ‘If it’s old, it’s good.’ And I believe that, I really do. If something has been around for ages and it’s still there, then it must have something going for it. Our very own Manangadang Bakery was visited by the Great Sir Robert Menzies back in 1939. So there you go.

Today, I am proud to open the 53rd Manangadang Pie Competition which attracts dozens of entries from across the region each year. I know Sir Robert was very fond of his pies and we in the Valley are too.

If you all turn around, you will see the entries laid out there on the trestle tables and what a spread it is. I want to thank Alma Withers and the girls from the Community Crime Watch group who have done another wonderful job getting all those pies onto the tables. It took ages as always, didn’t it girls. And we dropped a couple, didn’t we Alma. Which reminds me, if you don’t see your entry on the table, it may have come a cropper. So sorry about that and a letter will be coming to you in the mail.

In a moment, it will be my great pleasure to hand over to Ray Withers, our beloved Mayor and yes, lucky husband of old butter fingers Alma. Ray and Alma insisted on judging again this year and before anyone says anything, we had the whole thing checked over by the Municipal Association of Victoria. So it’s all above board and I don’t want to hear another word about it!

Because today is all about community and love and pies.

Once the winners are announced we will be inviting you all to sample the wonderful entries. We have something for everyone, from our own Nancy Pepper’s traditional mince meat and Gravox extravaganza to some strange little vegan things that came in from out of town. So dig in!

In closing, I just want to say a quick word about the competition’s theme for this year – resilience.

Recently, we lost our long-standing local member, Doug Kavanagh, after an unfortunate private matter led to a complete overreaction by the State Labor Government and he was forced to stand down. It’s a great blow to the region and our thoughts go out to Doug and his remaining social club members. But what I want to say to the rest of you is this; the people of Manangadang have a long history of survival. We got through The Great Depression and the war and then the same sex marriage plebiscite and now this thing with Dougie. And when times get tough, we know that if we all pull together, in the same direction, then most of us will come up smiling.

So in a moment, while Ray takes us through the judging, members from the Manangadang Committee will be moving through the crowd to collect donations from you all which will go to supporting the 54th Manangadang Pie Competition and several other committee matters. And I ask you, what could be more authentic than that?!