Kiama business stayed open last night in response to a last-minute decision to screen the Matildas semi final on a public screen in Hindmarsh Park.
Locals gathered with picnic mats and chairs to watch the big screen in front of the Orry Kelly stage with plenty of dinner options due to the support of local businesses.
Member for Kiama Gareth Ward said he made the decision to screen the game against England after the community used social media to request that a public venue be made available.
“We actually decided to put this together only two days ago. We all decided we would make this happen for the community and it all came out of a Facebook post on Kiama Community Page,” said MP Ward.
“It’s a really buzzing event with lots of community spirit which is what you expect in Kiama,” he said.
“The turnout tells the story, we have got probably around 1500 people at Hindmarsh Park.”
Local businesses such as Saltwater Café and Central Perks remained open late, as well as food vendors that gathered on the outskirts of the park to show their support for the community event.
Small Sydney-based business Eat Fuh had a stall at Hindmarsh Park, and the manager, Hien Nguyen, was impressed with the community atmosphere.
“It’s a beautiful set up, lovely crowd, kids running around playing football, it’s a dream,” said Mr Nguyen.
Kiama Donut Shop Moist n Glazed had a kombi van parked next to the big screen and sold special green and gold Matildas donuts.
“It’s been a pretty good turn out here in Kiama, it’s good to get some of the local support for us here,” said Liz from Moist n Glazed.
Despite the disappointing result for the Matildas, community spirit was high as children and families cheered on the Australian Women’s football team.