Agfest hope­fuls line up

As the days count down to Agfest, ex­hibitors are join­ing a wait­ing list to take part in Tas­ma­nia’s big­gest ru­ral event.

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS - KAROLIN MACGREGOR

IT may only be two weeks away but Agfest has a wait­ing list of ex­hibitors hop­ing to se­cure a spot at Tas­ma­nia’s big­gest ru­ral event.

More than 50 would-be ex­hibitors are on the list just in case a last-minute place in this year’s event opens up.

Man­ag­ing the list and look­ing af­ter the other 754 busi­nesses that will be part of this year’s Agfest is ex­hibitor man­ager Ethan Wil­liams.

At 23 Mr Wil­liams is not only the youngest ex­hibitor man­ager the event has had, he is also the only bloke who has taken on the role so far.

“We get phone calls and emails ev­ery day from peo­ple want­ing to get in and say­ing they can get here at the last minute,” he said.

“There is a proper ap­provals process that has to be fol­lowed though. We are a ru­ral event so that means not all the busi­ness are go­ing to meet the stan­dards we need to in­clude them. We would like to be able to in­clude ev­ery­one, and it’s great they want to sup­port us, but we also want to keep the agri­cul­tural fo­cus.”

Al­though work­ing full time as a butcher as well as tak­ing care of his Agfest re­spon­si­bil­i­ties has been a chal­lenge, Mr Wil­liams said he was en­joy­ing the job so far.

“It has been re­ally busy and jug­gling the two has been a bit dif­fi­cult at times, but I do like it,” he said.

Deal­ing with hun­dreds of ex­hibitors and their in­quiries is one part of Mr Wil­liam’s role. The other part is mak­ing sure things out on site are ready to go when ex­hibitors start rolling in, which means en­sur­ing mark­ings for sites re­main clear de­spite rain and wind.

Mar­quees are al­ready spring­ing up as prepa­ra­tions for this year’s Agfest, which kicks off on May 4, con­tinue.

Be­ing a mem­ber of the Agfest com­mit­tee means giv­ing up free time and Mr Wil­liams has been on site ev­ery week­end for the past 10 weeks.

Tak­ing on the new role has also al­lowed him to de­velop some new skills.

“It think peo­ple man­age­ment has prob­a­bly been the big­gest thing,” he said. “I’m used to deal­ing with peo­ple at the butcher shop, but be­ing able to re­ply to emails prop­erly and get in­for­ma­tion back to peo­ple in a hurry has been some­thing I’ve had to learn.”

Mr Wil­liams said he an­tic­i­pated things would get more hec­tic over the next two weeks.

The weather con­di­tions will also play a big part in how smoothly prepa­ra­tions go. “The last two years we’ve had is­sues with wind and the mar­quees, so hope­fully that won’t hap­pen again this time,” he said.

“We’d like some weather just like to­day — fine and about 20 de­grees. Some of our big­gest crowds have been in fine weather years, it seems to bring peo­ple out of the wood­work.”

I think peo­ple man­age­ment has prob­a­bly been the big­gest thing


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