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Thousands flock to Tara for biggest culture festival

A group called Piston Broke, came from Brisbane to enjoy the Tara festival.
A group called Piston Broke, came from Brisbane to enjoy the Tara festival. Michael Doyle

THE HOPE Tara could hold a marquee event that could draw thousands of people was nothing more than a pipe dream 20 years ago.

Last weekend, more than 15,000 people flocked to the small Western Downs town, to establish the Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Races as one of the region's must see events.

The pipe dream of Richard and Lou Thornbury had come true.

The festival officially began Friday morning but the stream of caravans which arrived on Wednesday meant the festival vibe started earlier than expected.

Entertainment was all provided across the three days, with traditions and cultures from across the globe being represented in front of the large crowds which had gathered at both stages to watch.

The camel races were the main stars of the show.

From the first race at 9am Saturday, thousands of revellers flocked to the fence on the main straight to see the camels charge towards the finishing line.

Betting and cheering was a plenty as all were in good spirit for each race.

The crowds stayed for the yabby races Saturday night, which drew plenty of enthusiasm from spectators. The auctioning of yabbies drew generously donations for the festival committee.

Mr Thornbury, the president of the Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Races, said the response he received from festival goers was positive.

"It was just tremendous. It was unbelievable, it went off really well,” Mr Thornbury said.

"I drove around last night (Sunday) to the caravans and it was all positive. Quite a few told me it was best festival in Queensland because of the variety of entertainment.”

As of yesterday morning, official numbers were not known however it is believed this was the biggest festival to date.

"We have a fair idea of how many camping groups which was over 1500 groups and I would say there was 15,000 through the gate across the weekend,” Mr Thornbury said.

The success of his event was due to the different attractions and entertainment on display across the three days.

"From talking to people, its was the general variety of entertainment which was the highlight,” he said.

"A lot of people who go to a festival only see a couple of things, but right though the grounds there was different entertainment from sheep shearing to international cultural acts.

"We got a lot of comments about the town as well about how friendly we were, the service, and the council workers who roamed the grounds.”

Preparations will begin shortly for next Tara Festival, to be held on August 2-4, 2019.

Topics:  camel races judah kelly tara tara festival of culture and camel races


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