Mans­field springs into the High Coun­try Fes­ti­val

Mansfield Courier - - Front Page -

THE Mans­field High Coun­try Fes­ti­val kicked off with a bang over the week­end, de­spite weather pre­dic­tions for rain­fall and strong winds.

Traf­fic be­gan to bank up in town Fri­day lunch time, with vis­i­tors crowd­ing the su­per­mar­kets and retail stores.

By the time the Sideshow Car­ni­val be­gan in Highett Street there were peo­ple ev­ery­where – all keen to cel­e­brate a long week­end in the High Coun­try.

Over­all num­bers were down at the fire­works – some choos­ing to stay away due to the fore­casted bad weather – but those who turned up were not dis­ap­pointed, treated to a cheer­lead­ing in­spired dance rou­tine from MAD stu­dios fol­lowed by 10 min­utes of fire­works.

“There was a phe­nom­e­nal out­pour­ing of com­mu­nity spirit,” Mayor Harry Wes­ten­dorp said of the Fri­day events.

“We were there watch­ing the kids run around and it had the feel of a great com­mu­nity event - it all went re­ally well.”

On Satur­day rain ar­rived in spurts, but it was not enough to dampen the spir­its of those who at­tended the bush market, the Me­dian to Rare Sculp­ture ex­hi­bi­tion or the grand pa­rade.

“The bush market was less well at­tended than we would nor­mally ex­pect – and I sus­pect some peo­ple were ex­pect­ing rain – the num­ber of stall hold­ers and vis­i­tors were both down but it was still very worth­while,” Cr Wes­ten­dorp said.

The can­celled Mans­field Fun Run im­pacted some of the ac­com­mo­da­tion busi­nesses, who said the lack of Tim­ber­top fam­i­lies com­ing to town to com­pete had seen overnight guests de­cline.

“I don’t think it was as busy as it has been in the past – the fun run made a dif­fer­ence to the num­bers,” Melissa Fos­ter from the Mans­field Mo­tel said.

“It was just like any other busy week­end re­ally.”

Kevin Wang, from the Mans­field Val­ley Mo­tor

Inn, said the week­end had been bet­ter than pre­dicted, and de­spite a few can­celled book­ings due to weather was still up on 2018.

“The weather had a neg­a­tive im­pact on our guest num­bers – but it was bet­ter than we thought it was go­ing to be,” he said.

“Hope­fully this sea­son will be bet­ter com­pared to pre­vi­ous years.

“The last three months of 2018 was like a re­ces­sion year for us.”

Up the bush, with the tracks open­ing again for the sum­mer, cars were go­ing ev­ery­where but straight as rain cre­ated muddy and treach­er­ous con­di­tions.

At least two cars lost their trail­ers off the side of the Cir­cuit Road – towed back out by those pass­ing-by with winches – and many turned around and headed home af­ter hit­ting muddy ruts near the Ra­zor­back Hut turnoff.

It is ex­pected the road con­di­tions will im­prove as the weather warms up.

Of course, the fun didn’t stop at the week­end, with thou­sands ex­pected to at­tend the an­nual Mans­field Mel­bourne Cup Day Races.

A must at­tend so­cial event on the cal­en­dar, the races have gone from strength to strength in re­cent years.

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