The community of Quirindi rallied on Sunday and held a family fun day in place of its annual show.
It was said that the show has only been cancelled once before – during World War II.
The Quirindi Show Society made the decision to cancel the show back in July because of the drought, but committee members, Nick Hoy and Dana Hawkins, felt it was still important to make something of the weekend.
Up to 1000 locals gathered at the showground to go on rides, buy showbags, browse stalls and participate in a rain dance led by Tamworth Dance Academy.
The crowds were joined by His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley, Governor of NSW and his wife Linda who are co-patrons of the CWA.
During the event’s official opening, Governor Hurley said they were “kindly invited” by Quirindi CWA member Colleen Wills.
“When I say kindly invited, that’s tongue in cheek – never stand between the CWA and what they want,” he said.
Governor Hurley said it was “plain” that Quirindi was among the towns experiencing “difficult times” because of the drought.
“Drought comes back and visits us in cycles and periods but the amazing thing is we’re still here,” he said.
“And I think that’s what today is all about – we’re still here, we’re staying positive and we know there is a better tomorrow.
“We will survive the drought – we are a resilient people.”
Governor Hurley said the show was the “heartbeat of the community” and it was still beating.
“[This day] is a great example across this community and the state,” he said.
Governor Hurley said the impacts of the drought on country towns had “struck home” with the major cities and was now a common topic of conversation.
“They’ve realised they can assist,” he said.
“You don’t sit or stand in these circumstances on your own.”
We will survive the drought – we are a resilient people.His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley, Governor of NSW
Show society president Lindsay Maybury said half of what the Showman’s Guild made on the day would be donated to the CWA for drought relief and he was pleased to see the community support the event.
“It was a shock to see so many people come out to support the day,” he said.
“You could see the crowd building up from about 10am.”
Mr Maybury said committee members Dana Hawkins and Nick Hoy were “the driving force” behind the event and there had been plenty of positive feedback.
“[People] just walk up and shake your hand and say, ‘Well done. Great effort’,” Mr Maybury said.
Ms Hoy said 35 market stalls were already booked in for the show, so instead of cancelling, the society put in hours of work to transform the event.
Quirindi High School emceed the event and Quirindi Public School led the National Anthem with its band and choir. St Joseph’s Primary School gave a token to the governor and his wife.
“There are a lot of people and they’re all here for the right reasons,” Ms Hoy said on the day.
All funds raised for drought relief at the event will be spent on gift cards, which will then be given to the CWA to distribute in the wider community.