So what did you do for the long weekend? A few runs down the mountain to celebrate the start of the ski season or a trip to Cairns to warm your bones; a weekend away with the girls/boys or some ten-pin and a movie with the family?
In the north-west we amuse ourselves on Saturday with a flutter on the horses at the Mallawa Picnic Races, which this year boasted a six race program with as many as five horses in each race! The excellent turnout of horseflesh on the track was reflected in the number of punters off the track, with cars parked six deep to the entry gate and race-goers (rather eagerly) partaking of refreshments and/or parleying with their preferred bookie. Fashions in the field are always varied and usually range from warm and modest with sensible shoes; mostly worn by seasoned black soil plains dwellers to chilly and revealing with skyscraper like stilettos; worn by those not accustomed to loose dirt and large cracks (in the ground!).
This most social occasion is, for us, akin to the famous Birdsville Races in south-west Queensland … without the pub … or the town for that matter; being situated in a paddock on the road from Moree to … eventually … Rowena! There are, however, all the usual amenities to make such an occasion civilised, including bar and band for after race-day activities as well as the added bonus of wide-open spaces and an unimpeded view of a glorious sunset for the entertainment of the designated drivers; sometimes the only ones still capable of appreciating it.
So that’s Saturday taken care of.
For Sunday’s recovery we have a more relaxed and casual event around the bonfires at the Rowena Cracker Night. This event has been running for close to 20 years and started with 30 odd Rowena Primary School students, sitting cross-legged on a blue tarp watching fireworks being lit by a couple of dads with safety goggles and long matches. Those of us not involved in the lighting of Tom Thumbs, Sparkling Fountains and Giant Sky Rockets kept a watchful eye on inquisitive, fire loving small people and trying not to laugh out loud (LOL) at the ducking, weaving and near-miss eyebrow-singeing antics of the would-be pyrotechnics.
So much fun was had by all it became an annual event that has grown to now attract over 1,000 visitors and includes bonfires, dinner, music and professional pyrotechnic companies who provide us with fantastic displays in our open, velvety and completely un-lit skies.
The funds raised from this event support the children of our district and Rowena CWA members are pleased to do our bit in providing extra hands to (wo)man the gate, serve a steak or sausage sandwich and contribute to the delicious array of tea and coffee accompaniments.