By Melissa Keogh
Polish off those Rossi Boots and jump in the tractor cab – the Riverland’s largest farming expo is set to celebrate its 60th year.
Up to 13,000 people are expected to descend on the town of Barmera this week (September 15 and 16) for the annual Riverland Field Days.
The field day committee is tipping its hat to 60 years of the popular event, which allows horticultural and agricultural businesses to showcase their latest innovations, products and services.
Executive manager Tim Grieger says that while the field days are horticulturally-focused, exhibitors represent various other industries.
“It’s also embracing all other businesses including schools, banking and finance, home and gardening, caravanning, leisure, clothing and accessories, and health specialists,” he says.
“There’s no other event like it in the region.”
Demonstrations including vintage machinery, sheep herding, wood-splitting, wine tastings and blacksmithing will encourage a flurry of activity.
A home and garden section will showcase more than 50 businesses with indoor and outdoor exhibits ranging from hardware, roofing, plants, pest management and bird keeping.
The caravan and camping section is likely to excite outdoor travellers with canoe, caravans, campers, and outdoor lighting businesses on display.
The Grain Line exhibit will also spark interest among broad acre farmers, who can indulge in a long line of farm machinery, products and service business stalls.
Local radio stations will broadcast live from the event, while schools and community groups will also be represented.
In a nod to the 60-year milestone, South Australian Governor Hieu Van Le will make an appearance on Friday, September 15, to officially open the event.
The Riverland Field Days will go ahead at a site off Field Day Drive, Barmera.
It features a permanent pavilion, stage and stall areas that make it ideal to host a “whole range of events”.
Earlier this year the field days committee was granted $405,000 in funding through the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund.
The money will go towards a new $850,000 pavillion to be built at the site by early 2018.
The Riverland Field Days was born in 1958, when it was known as the Riverland Field and Gadget Days with just 15 exhibitors.
Now the event attracts hundreds of exhibitors and 13,000 visitors.
“The Riverland is the major food bowl of the state with the citrus, almonds, stone fruit and nut industries which are increasingly expanding,” Tim says.
“There was the time we went through the drought but we have great resilience and we support each other when things are tough.
“We are seeing that revival of the region now.”
Riverland Field Day gates open from 9am–5pm both days.
Tickets are $15 for adults, while children under 18 enter for free.
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