Volunteer and community groups in southern NSW are set to benefit from more than $300,000 raised at the 2016 Henty Machinery Field Days.
The field days, held on September 20-22, drew 55,000 visitors and 868 exhibitors on the largest site area in its 53-year history.
HMFD chief executive officer Belinda Anderson said more than $300,000 was received by community and volunteer groups directly involved with the 2016 field days.
HMFD directors and staff will gather with community representatives on Wednesday, November 9 at 10am at the Henty Community Club to celebrate the achievement.
“The HMFD management extends special thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who willingly give their time each to ensure the field days are a success,’’ Mrs Anderson said.
Each year, volunteers ranging in age from 16 to 75 help flip burgers, make thousands of sandwiches, serve customers and clean the catering sheds.
Other volunteers maintain the amenities and waste disposal, man the entry gates, organise parcel pick-up, park cars, assist exhibitors, wait tables and supervise the Family Resting Place.
The 26 community and not-for-profit groups to benefit from field day funds have included Henty football, tennis and golf clubs, Henty Catering Association, Henty Public School, Henty Early Childhood Association, Lutheran Ladies Guild, and Henty Rotary.
Outside of Henty, groups either providing services to HMFD or operating catering sheds include the Walbundrie Building Committee, Culcairn Swimming Pool Committee, St Pauls Primary School, Brocklesby Public School, Riverlife Church, St Patricks Primary School, Pleasant Hills P & C, Culcairn Football Club, Holbrook Rotary, Lockhart, Mangoplah and Osborne football clubs, St Josephs School Support and CWA Riverina Group.
Henty volunteer Felicity Klemke said the field days generated an exciting buzz around the township.
“It is a real privilege to be involved and provide good, hearty country food at one of Australia’s premier events,’’ Mrs Klemke said.
She described St Paul’s Lutheran School as the “little school with the big heart’’, with 55 students.
“The field days is the main fundraiser on the school’s calendar and it’s a great opportunity for St Paul’s to showcase the school and the community it is made up of,’’ Mrs Klemke said.
“St Pauls has been able to provide library resources, science and maths text books, IPads for all children, professionally landscaped gardens, a renovated tuckshop kitchen and refrigerated bubbler.’’
HMFD chairman Ross Edwards said a key to Henty’s success as Australia’s leading mixed farming field days was the volunteer spirit.
“Behind the displays and new technology on site is a long line of committed individuals who have contributed since the 1960s to make this a major event on the agricultural calendar,’’ Mr Edwards said.
“One of key objectives is to maintain the broad community involvement that has contributed to Henty’s success over the decades.’’