More than 20,000 people could be drawn to Tocumwal in November for what is being tipped as one of the biggest events this region will ever see.By Hannah Nichols
The Tocumwal Community Development Committee Inc (TCDC) expect to attract the massive crowd with a three day Food and Fibre Expose in November.
To be held at the historic North Tuppal Station, the committee is confident they could perhaps even attract up to 30,000 people to the event.
As a result, the committee predicts hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent in the Southern Riverina.
TCDC president Ross Bodey said the aim of the event, being described as a mega festival, is to highlight the importance of agriculture to Australia and our area.
‘‘It is not a field day, but an expose of food.’’
‘‘There will be opportunities for patrons to meet and talk to farmers and see how things are done.
‘‘We have a strong farming sector and we grow clean green food.
‘‘Tocumwal and surrounds is the food bowl of Australia, and we will try and show this.’’
The event will include an extensive Food Bowl of Australia Farmers’ Market and a North Tuppal market.
Agricultural businesses will be invited to participate, offering trade sites for visitors.
Mr Bodey said ideas being researched include inviting grain corp associated companies who will grind wheat to flower then make damper, then use local produce like Murray Goulburn butter and local honey.
Mr Bodey said committee members floated the idea of the festival with trade sites at the Henty Field Days last year, and said there was a lot of interest shown.
He did say, however, there was initially some concern about the timing of the event.
Planned to be held Melbourne Cup weekend this year – November 1, 2 and 3 – the event clashes with the annual Berrigan Cup race meet.
But Mr Bodey said the agricultural based event would only compliment the busy weekend.
‘‘I’m convinced it will only enhance the long weekend,’’ he said.
Mr Bodey said the target audience of the event would be ‘‘city people’’, but would be open to all people.
With an aim to educate on the need for productive and sustainable agriculture, the event will be targeted at people and kids who ‘‘don’t know where food comes from’’.
To build on that aim, Mr Bodey said there will be a kids day, which he expects will attract between 5000 and 7000 children.
The TCDC intend to seek advice from the organisers of the Shearing of the Rams event at North Tuppal Station in progressing the new festival.
Support has also been shown from surrounding council areas, including Moira, Shepparton, Deniliquin, Conargo and Berrigan Shires.
The group will seek $20,000 funding through the Berrigan Shire Events Committee to assist with marketing the event.
The February round will be the second time the committee has attempted to get funding, having been rejected recently.
Mr Bodey put the rejection down to having only two days before the deadline to submit the application. However they will re-apply with a more substantial application before the end of February’s deadline.
With or without the funding, however, Mr Bodey said the event will go ahead.
‘‘We still believe we can run the event (if unsuccessful in getting funding), especially once we get momentum with support from exhibitors,’’ he said.
‘‘The funding is planned to be spent mostly on marketing.
‘‘We will be looking to raise money and volunteers from the communities around us.’’
A public information session on the event is expected to be held in February, with a date yet to be set.
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