WITH the pandemic having limited social gatherings for the majority of 2020, the return of events in 2021 was a long time coming.
In May of 2021, hope slowly began circulating and the return of large-scale events was welcomed back across the Wagga community.
After running without a crowd in 2020, thousands of racegoers flocked to the Murrumbidgee Turf Club for the Wagga Gold Cup Carnival 2021 on May 6.
Attendees were excited to be able to get out their best outfits for the sunny occasion after months of tracksuit pants and food-stained jumpers.
Claudia Di Trapani said she felt "lucky" to be back at the big day. "I always come to the Gold Cup, it's so good to be back and I feel really lucky that we're able to be here despite the pandemic," she said.
"It's such a big day for Wagga too, and it's great to see everyone enjoying themselves."
Murrumbidgee Turf Club chief executive Steven Keane said ticket sales were incredibly strong with about 4000 general admissions sold the morning of the event.
Mr Keane credited the ticket success to residents having had little to no events to go to in over 12 months.
It was a great relief for event organisers to see the event underway after Facebook scammers attempted to sabotage.
On May 4, a Facebook page was created by people posing as Wagga Gold Cup organisers and claiming that the carnival would be held virtually through a live broadcast link.
This was an attempt to sell fake tickets, which Mr Keene referred to as having been "really frustrating".
IN OTHER NEWS:
May 30 saw yet again another opportunity for residents to dress up and socialise post lockdown, with masses of women taking to the Murrumbidgee Turf Club again, this time for the inaugural Ladies' Day races.
May also saw Wagga pub icon Romano's Hotel change hands after three months on the market.
The Wagga-based Oates family, led by father Murray Oates and his son and daughter-in-law Mathew and Lauren, purchased Romano's for about $6 million, according to industry sources.
Another random, but positive, highlight for the month of May was when actor Matt Damon was spotted out and about in Jugiong.
The Hollywood star created a stir when fans captured him in the town, having dropped into the Long Track Pantry to grab a coffee.
About 70 riders took to the streets on their bikes on May 16 for the annual Black Dog Ride from Wagga to Batlow.
The event raised funds for the Black Dog Institute and usually runs in March, but inclement weather saw the event postponed.
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