23 March, 2023
Record turnout tipped for Field Days
ONE of the biggest events in the region will be back better than ever in May, with organisers expecting a record turnout to the Rotary FNQ Field Days.
Run by the combined Atherton and Mareeba Rotary Clubs, the three-day event attracts around 16,000 through the gates at the Mareeba Rodeo Grounds, all keen to take part in a broad range of activities including the popular tractor pull, the health and wellbeing pavilion, working machinery displays and kids area.
With more than 600 sites available for exhibitors, the event is the largest Field Days in northern Australia, having tripled in size over the past 10 years, outgrowing its original site at Walkamin.
With a theme this year of “A Celebration of Agriculture”, event marketing coordinator Jeanette Sturiale says everyone is upbeat about what’s in store in 2023.
“We launched the sites in December and sold 85 per cent of them in the first four days – we have released another 50 sites and they are nearly sold out now,” she said.
“I think this really reflects the reputation of the event – the most important measures of success are return customers, the amount of new people who want to come, and the speed of the bookings.”
One of the most popular events is the cattle auction and that, too, has been in great demand.
“Pens for the cattle always sell fast but this time, they sold out in a week,” Ms Sturiale said.
And while many people go just to see the big machinery and agricultural products on display, exhibitors report that the business side of the event is also significant.
In terms of sales, Ms Sturiale said it was all about making a connection with companies who could show and demonstrate the latest products. With buyers often living in remote or regional areas, it was the perfect opportunity to see new products up close.
“I think people like to see the variety on show, and touch and feel the products, and the Field Days gives them the chance to do that in one spot,” she said.
“Some exhibitors will use the event to launch new products and demonstrate the latest technology - something farmers and graziers would not get to see in reality because they are on their property most of the time.
“Our exhibitors tell us it’s all about making that connection with buyers at the Field Days, and they are still getting sales for up to two years after the event.”
Ms Sturiale said the Field Days also provided farmers and producers a chance to socialise with each other and talk to like-minded people.
“I think it brings people together and they get that opportunity to catch up and talk,” she said.
2023 Rotary FNQ Field Days chair Kevin Davies said the event was so successful and economically beneficial for the region because of the number of people behind the scenes making it happen.
"Field Days is on every two years and for that one week, the economic benefit this brings to the region is enormous as well as allowing locals to see what new technologies are available to industry sectors and grab a bargain from one of the 400 plus exhibitors," he said.
“There’s a level of passion and dedication amongst the committee, and there’s knowledge within the ranks of how to run an event of this size successfully.
“But it could not happen if not for the efforts of around 250 volunteers as well.
“The event provides a big incentive for anyone who wants to volunteer because they can actually earn money to go towards their chosen charity – and that certainly keeps them coming back.”