ABOUT 120 World War II military vehicles are expected to put on a display during the Australia Day weekend at the Guyra Showground as part of this year’s Guyra Lamb and Potato Festival.
“It was a new event last year; we had about 80 trucks last year and are expecting more people this time,” festival president Steve Mepham said.
Interesting military vehicles, such as tanks and Blitz wagons, will be on show on Saturday and Sunday.
Mr Mepham said the 13-day festival, held at Rotary Park on the New England Highway, was always held at this time of year as a canny decision by the Guyra organisers to catch the passing parade heading to and from the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
“That’s what makes us so successful, because people go up and down (the range) ... people are escaping the heat of Tamworth,” he said.
“We always incorporate two weekends – it just depends on when Australia Day falls.”
The festival is much more than just food, with the Guyra and District Auto Club conducting a car display on Saturday and a show-and-shine on Sunday, plus musical acts, mainly country, on stage every day of the festival.
Rail trike rides down the railway line will run for the duration of the festival.
The Guyra Antique Machinery Group also holds a swap meet each year, with this year’s to be held on Saturday and Sunday.
The cooler weather kept crowd numbers down yesterday morning, but Mr Mepham said he expected numbers to build.
“It’s a bit quiet this morning, with the rain last night and fog this morning,” Mr Mepham said yesterday.
This year’s festival, the 27th, will once again see many local organisations and sporting clubs benefit from the $100,000 expected to be raised in the gazebo kitchen – the main food marquee.
“The gazebo is where we make our money,” Mr Mepham said.
Organisations such as the Guyra hospital auxiliary, the Volunteer Rescue Association, Rural Fire Service and Guyra Rugby League Club put in the hard yards in the gazebo kitchen in order to partake in a share of festival profits.
After costs, about $45,000 was usually divvied up between the clubs, Mr Mepham said.
It was their major fundraiser for the year.
He said the Guyra community ran the event as a totally self-funded entity, with no council funding or government grant.
Mr Mepham said the festival aimed to show off local produce – wherever possible, the produce used is purchased locally.
New events for this year include the Lego Creation Competition display at Burgess’s Garage for the duration of the festival.
For the first time, a large model train display is also being put on by the Armidale Model Train Club at the Masonic hall; Mr Mepham said they’d had strong inquiries about it.
It will be open for the Australia Day weekend.
On Thursday from 4pm and into the evening, the groups Ophelia’s Suitcase, Rough Justice, The Ducks and Grand-daddy Low will be combining for the Ducks of Justice show.