Chang­ing di­rec­tion a key

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

The team be­hind Wim­mera Ma­chin­ery Field Days will con­tinue to pur­sue ways of mak­ing the an­nual event dif­fer­ent each year in an ef­fort to main­tain its longevity.

Field days man­ager Mur­ray Wil­son said the chal­lenge for the three-day at­trac­tion was mak­ing sure there was al­ways some­thing new and en­gag­ing for both ex­hibitors and pa­trons.

“We had a few dif­fer­ent things this year and that wasn’t by ac­ci­dent – it is some­thing we al­ways con­sider,” he said.

“The great dan­ger is do­ing the same thing year in year out be­cause you might have had some suc­cess. But that doesn’t equate to putting up the best event pos­si­ble.

“We must al­ways put into ef­fect new at­trac­tions or fea­tures to make some­thing like this work for the re­gion.”

Mr Wil­son made the com­ments while re­flect­ing on a suc­cess­ful field days that at­tracted and in­volved be­tween 15,000 and 18,000 peo­ple.

“It was a re­ally good three days and num­bers, as ex­pected, were up on last year,” he said.

“It was a mas­sive event and was even big­ger at the last minute when we had to cre­ate sites for late ex­hibitors.

“The truth is we’ve been able to main­tain sim­i­lar num­bers for the past six to eight years, much of what is de­pen­dent on weather and the agri­cul­tural sea­son.

“There was a lot of op­ti­mism from agri­cul­tural busi­nesses and peo­ple in gen­eral.

“Site book­ings and ex­hibitors were very strong and ex­hibitors are say­ing it is some­thing they need to at­tend.”

Mr Wil­son said the field days fea­tured al­most 600 ex­hibitors across about 1000 sites, and with the mild weather peo­ple spread out across the 16-hectare Wim­mera Events Cen­tre site.

“It is such a solid event and of­ten it is hard to gauge the busi­ness suc­cess for at least six months. Much of it is about fol­low-up in­quiries,” he said.

The field days com­mit­tee will meet this week for a de­brief­ing ses­sion and make notes of ways to im­prove the at­trac­tion.

“We’ll get it all down while it’s still fresh and in the next cou­ple of months start send­ing out in­vi­ta­tions for site book­ings for 2019. Then the roller­coaster starts again,” Mr Wil­son said.

WIN­NERS: Jade Hawker and Craig Hop­kins with their prod­uct award at the Claas stand.

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