THE 2019 National Primary Games has begun in style with a memorable opening ceremony held at the Tamworth Sports Dome on Saturday morning.
Thousands of competing athletes, flanked by thousands more parents and family members braved the chilly conditions to begin the games with a bang.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson officially declared the games underway and welcome the throng of sports lovers.
"It is my great privilege to welcome everybody to Tamworth for what is sure to be an exciting weekend of sport," Anderson said.
"Tamworth boasts some of the best sporting facilities in regional NSW and I'm sure all of the young athletes competing this weekend will enjoy themselves."
Tamworth mayor Col Murray echoed the sentiments, saying the Primary Games was fast becoming one of Tamworth's most signature events.
"Tamworth Regional Council prides itself on the condition of our facilities," Murray said.
"They are above excellence and we can't thank the state government enough for their support in helping to make these facilities as outstanding as they are."
The event also had an Olympic feel with Australian Olympians Ella Nelson, Annelise Rubie and Gemma Etherage on hand to officially open the games.
Nelson said she was particularly looking forward to the netball component of the games.
"I was a netballer growing up before I went into athletics, so it should be fun to see the kids play," Nelson said.
"I remember being that age, feeling the excitement, the enjoyment, the nervousness and being here helps bring all of those memories back."
Rubie said it was "amazing to be involved" in this year's games.
"It's so exciting and I was a little bit overwhelmed by how many kids are here," Rubie said.
"I'm really excited to travel around and watch some of the events here today [Saturday]."
For Etherage it was a sweet homecoming as the Tamworth native showed off her 2016 Rio gold medal.
"It is good to be back in Tamworth and to see all of the kids so excited about their sport," Etherage said.
"As a junior coming through the ranks in the North West region there wasn't a lot of exposure to multiple sports, so it is good to see things like this event that give kids that exposure to new sports."
Etherage said Tamworth's sporting facilities had "come a long way" since her junior days.
"These facilities were a lot to be desired in my junior days," she said.
"When I was around there was nothing like this, there was a grass track where we were running in bare feet on icy fields.
"So it's come a long way and it is really great to see the kids getting the opportunities to play at these facilities."
The games conclude on Sunday.