By EMMA CORNFORD
THERE was a bit of pre-New Year excitement for one Yamba local yesterday after she spotted Gina Riley, who plays Kim on the ABC series 'Kath and Kim', at a cafe.
"I was so excited because I'm a big fan," the resident said.
"I was sitting there at Caperberry thinking 'I know you', because I thought I knew her from school or something, but then I realised it was 'Kimmy'."
The resident said she was 99 per cent sure that the woman, who was wearing a sarong, baseball cap and had obviously just been swimming, was Ms Riley.
So the summer celebrity spotting on the coast begins, and with a number of big stars hitting the stage in the lower river over the next couple of weeks, including Russell Crowe, Tim Rogers and Jimmy Barns, it should be a fruitful search. But for those residents not interested in celebrities who are taking time out in the Valley, there are plenty of other activities this New Year's eve to keep everyone happy with bands in Yamba, Maclean and Grafton as well as the annual Main Beach fireworks at Yamba.
And it seems this year, Yamba is the place to be.
According to resort owners and residents the town is busier than ever before.
Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort manager Sheila Moore said in her 12 years at the park, this summer was the most crowded she had seen Yamba.
"There are definitely more people around," she said. "It's actually quite bizarre. I'm not sure why, I think more and more people are discovering Yamba and going home and telling others about it. This year a lot of regulars are also bringing their friends."
Ms Moore said the unusually large influx of visitors had created a good feeling around Yamba.
"It's a wonderful buzz. Anytime you go for a walk or to the beach there are lots of families around. In the morning you see the parents getting up and making coffee and the kids out playing (and) it's a really happy feeling."