Camels are ready for Tara festival
THE TRACK is prepared, stage is set, and entertainers have arrived in Tara as the Festival of Cultures and Camel Races begins today.
The annual event is one of the more popular in the Western Downs, and from humble beginnings has put the small town of Tara on the map.
In 2001, the camel races were the brainchild of Lou Thornbury, who spent a week in Blackall learning how to run such an event.
That year approximately 2500 people walked through the gates, which was more than enough reward for Mrs Thornbury.
"The first year had 2500 people and we just thought that was great,” she said.
"Then three festivals ago we had a look the numbers and could not believe we drew 5000 people.
"The year after it was 10,000 and then 12,000 and we were just left thinking wow.”
Now in its 17th year, the event has grown into a festival laced with entertainment from musicians and dancers, to sheep shearing and yabby racing as well.
Winner of The Voice 2017, Judah Kelly, will headline this year's entertainment with a performance from 7pm Saturday.
Festival organisers secured Mr Kelly before he won the singing competition, which Mrs Thornbury said was a real coup for the festival.
"We all used to meet on a Monday (during The Voice) and thought how good is he going, we've done well here.”
The festival officially starts tomorrow morning at 7am, with activities running all day in Tara.
Tomorrow morning will begin with a country music breakfast at 7am, before the first camel race at 9am.
After Mr Kelly's performance, more live music will entertain festival goers.
Sunday's first camel race will also start at 9am.
With another exciting festival on the cards, Mrs Thornbury is encouraging everyone to head to Tara and experience the event.
"We have a huge event here, it is a brilliant show and we have great entertainment this year,” she said.
"We are just putting Tara on the map and I do it because I love the town.”
Camping is available until Monday, August 7, at 5pm and costs $25 a site.
A weekend pass for adults is $35, family passes (two adults, four kids) are $65.
More information at www. tarafestivalncamels.org.au.
Camel Whisperer defends cup - Page 30.