The Deniliquin Ute Muster and BIG4 Deniliquin Holiday Park have both won at the NSW Tourism Awards in Sydney.November 27, 2012 4:59am
Deniliquin Play on the Plains Festival board deputy chair Caroline Shand, festival general manager John Harvie, marketing manager Karla Notley, and BIG4 Deniliquin owners Lynda and Frank White.
Deniliquin officially has the best festival and caravan park in the state.
The Deniliquin Ute Muster and BIG4 Deniliquin Holiday Park both claimed gold at the NSW Tourism Awards in Sydney on Thursday night.
They will now compete at the national competition in Hobart in February.
The muster defeated the Tamworth Country Music Festival, NSW Caravan, Camping, RV and Holiday Supershow, and the Jenolan Caves to take out the top award in the festivals and events category.
Festival general manager John Harvie said he felt ‘‘disbelief’’ when the winner was announced.
Mr Harvie, muster marketing manager Karla Notley and Play on the Plains Festival board deputy chair Caroline Shand took to the stage together to accept the accolade.
Mr Harvie said it was ‘‘fantastic’’ to be recognised by people in the industry, and there were ‘‘huge cheers’’ from the audience when they won.
‘‘They all agreed with the awards, which is really comforting, and makes us feel even more special,’’ he said.
He paid tribute to his team, and the volunteers, sponsors and patrons of the annual Ute Muster.
‘‘All the stakeholders are responsible for this. It’s their award as much as ours,’’ he said.
The award was for the 2011 event — one that was plagued with rain and mud.
‘‘It’s really good to see that we didn’t cancel the events because of the weather — we carried on,’’ Mr Harvie said.
‘‘Despite it (the weather) all our patrons had a fantastic time.’’
The Ute Muster has been building up to this win, after making the finals in 2010, and coming third in 2011.
Mr Harvie is now thinking of having a special cabinet built at Muster HQ to house their ‘‘beautiful trophy’’.
Meanwhile, BIG4 Deniliquin Holiday Park would need a bookcase to hold all their trophies, with Thursday’s win just the latest in a string of successes.
BIG4 Deniliquin first won gold in 2009, before coming third in 2010 and 2011.
Owners Frank and Lynda White attended the Sydney ceremony, and Mr White admitted he was ‘‘shocked’’ when they won the caravan park category again.
‘‘I didn’t think we really had much of a chance, so it was a huge shock,’’ he said.
Mr White said they were up against mostly coastal parks such as BIG4 North Star, which is on the NSW north coast and has a staff of 55.
‘‘It’s a pretty big place,’’ he said.
‘‘We do have these sort of resort style parks in inland NSW. Hopefully now people will get to travel a bit more inland to see them.’’
Mr White said no other town was as heavily represented as Deniliquin at the awards.
The Peppin Heritage Centre was also a finalist in the visitor information services category.
The wider Riverina was also successful, with Riverina Regional Tourism coming third in the tourism marketing category.
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