Long Fiel­d­ays tra­di­tion con­tin­ues

Hamilton Press - - FRONT PAGE - MIKE BAIN

This year’s 50th Fiel­d­ays is go­ing to be a spe­cial oc­ca­sion for for­mer Otoro­hanga dairy farmer Bill John­son.

John­son had at­tended Fiel­d­ays ev­ery year since it kicked off half a cen­tury ago.

This year he will be its guest of hon­our at the flag-rais­ing cer­e­mony, to of­fi­cially open the event at Mys­tery Creek near Cam­bridge, on June 13.

John­son moved to South­land in 2008 but re­mained a long­stand­ing sup­porter of the event.

He said it was never his in­ten­tion to at­tend them all, it just be­came a tra­di­tion.

He had seen a lot of change in the 50 years and while the event had grown, he be­lieved the core pur­pose of Fiel­d­ays re­mained the same.

It’s what keeps him com­ing back to Mys­tery Creek.

‘‘New ideas and in­ven­tions can come and go at times, but the core of farm­ing is still there.’’

His name be­came known to Fiel­d­ays ad­min­is­tra­tors when his niece re­sponded to a so­cial me­dia request for sto­ries from ded­i­cated Fiel­d­ays at­ten­dees.

He noted some changes since he at­tended the first New Zealand Agri­cul­tural Fiel­d­ays in 1969, or the Town and Coun­try Fair as it was then known.

First on the list was the tim­ing and then the weather. For­merly Fiel­d­ays was held dur­ing sum­mer be­fore it was moved to June.

‘‘A bit of rain would mean about six inches of mud and cars slid­ing all over the place try­ing to get out,’’ John­son said.

‘‘No wor­ries about the weather now. These days, you can get around Fiel­d­ays in your good shoes.

‘‘Back then it took around about three hours now it’s more like three days.’’

John­son said it was great to see the ad­vance­ment in new farm ma­chin­ery over the years.

‘‘In the early days, trac­tors were a lot smaller. Over the years, they’ve be­come more like tree top­pers.’’

Fiel­d­ays starts at Mys­tery Creek from June 13.

For­mer Waikato farmer Bill John­son is look­ing for­ward to at­tend­ing his 50th Fiel­d­ays event.

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