Thousands of extra people are predicted to converge on Berrigan and other Southern Riverina towns this weekend for the Berrigan Spring Racing Carnival.
The three-day festival aims to build on the success of the Berrigan races, which already attracts thousands of punters each year.
The festival is centred around the Gold Cup race meet this Saturday.
A new initiative for the three-day carnival is the ‘Tent Motel’, a Berrigan and District Development Association Event Committee idea.It is expected to help solve accommodation issues, with guests able to take up a tent rather than seeking accommodation in surrounding towns.
Offering more accommodation options is also hoped to attract Victorian visitors to make it a four-day weekend given there is the traditional Melbourne Cup day public holiday next Tuesday.
Berrigan Shire Mayor Bernard Curtin said all traditional forms of accommodation were already booked out, which he says points to a fantastic weekend.
‘‘The whole town will be abuzz from Friday afternoon,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s live entertainment Friday and Saturday evenings, and of course the races are just growing with popularity each year.
‘‘We expect to have at least 50 coaches come in from the races from as far away as Swan Hill and Kerang, Seymour, Wangaratta and even Griffith and Leeton, which gives it a bit of flavour.
‘‘There’s a Sunday post-cup breakfast at the Berrigan Sporties, which is followed by the (Melbourne Cup) calcutta.
‘‘I believe the winner got almost $7000 in the calcutta last year, and I expect it to be more this year.
‘‘Everyone’s getting a bit of a go .
BDDA Events Committee representative John De Petro said the Tent Motel was a new initiative for 2013 which he hopes will be a success.
‘‘Each year the BDDA are looking to try to put on something to enhance the (Berrigan) Cup.
‘‘We are looking to take an element of the cup, run an activity and then get community groups and/or clubs involved with running it.’’
Mr De Petro said the thinking behind the new concept was the BDDA would pilot the project and the community would then take over with the organisation in years to come.
‘‘We see our role as an executive to foster growth and to provide leadership to test ideas in the hope that the community will take them on.
‘‘There is fairly limited accommodation in Berrigan – the motel and a handful of rooms at the Royal and Federal (hotel).
‘‘Rather than people only coming for a day trip, we are encouraging them to stay longer (by having the Tent Motel).’’
The BDDA Tent Motel will be based at the Berrigan Caravan Park. There are two options available.
The silver option includes accommodation in a two-man tent from $120 per person while the gold option includes accommodation in a four-man tent from $95 per person. Each option includes stretcher beds, foam mattress and LED battery lantern.
Tents will be set up on Friday morning and packed up for you.
The BDDA Events Committee has an action-packed weekend planned for all visitors.
To kick off the weekend, there will be live entertainment at the Royal Hotel on Friday night.
Saturday will be set aside for the Gold Cup meeting, but there will be live entertainment at the Federal Hotel and Berrigan Sporties after the last race.
On Sunday, there is the ‘Fabulous Calcutta – Run for the Melbourne Cup’ from 1pm at the Berrigan Sporties. There will be live entertainment that night.
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