The Henty Machinery Field Days represent one of the biggest agricultural events in the country, showcasing the latest innovations in farm equipment and plenty more for anyone on the land or the road.
More than 60,000 people attended across the three days in 2022 and this year’s event is shaping up to be even bigger.
With less than a month until the gates open on Tuesday, 19 September, we’ve put together our top-10 tips for getting the most out of the event.
The festival is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a record number of exhibitors. See more than $200 million in machinery, dog trials, fashion parades, vintage machinery and more.
#1 – Beat the queues
Book your ticket online and you won’t need to queue to buy one on the day. Oh, and you also save $5 on the adult price, and you can use your ticket on whichever day you decide to go. Check the weather forecast and pick the day that suits you best.
#2 – Wear the right gear
There are 14 kilometres of shopfront to wander through, so if you intend on seeing the lot, make sure you wear footwear that will last the distance. Never fear, though – if you have a blowout, there are many exhibitors that can sell you a new pair of snazzy boots and just about all good country brands are covered.
#3 – Take a hat
Be sun smart! Take your favourite hat or cap – you’ll look the part and keep your noggin from getting burnt if the sun’s a shinin’. There’ll be no need for tears if you forget one, though, as Henty’s Avondale Place will be at both the east and west entrances raising funds for its charity by selling unused Henty Field Days promotional caps (albeit with an out-of-date logo) for a gold coin donation.
#4 – Take a trolley
There’s no doubt that with some 3500 companies represented across 1200 sites, you might just buy a bit more than you intended. If you don’t want to end up with gibbon arms by the end of the day, take a trolley (not the supermarket variety) so that you can load it up and trail it merrily behind you. There are some exhibitors selling trolleys also, so make them your first stop if you plan on shopping up a storm and don’t have your own wheels at hand.
#5 – Pass the parcel
There is a free parcel pick-up service that can take heavier or larger items (think case of wine and upwards) to the exit gate ready for you to collect at the end of your day. All you do is ask the exhibitor you purchased from to provide you with a form to fill out. Once you’ve completed it, follow the instructions and drop a copy of the form (it comes in multiple layers) to the parcel pick-up booking office on site 710. The volunteers from Henty Park Tennis Club and St Joseph’s Catholic Church Culcairn will then organise for your goods to be collected and delivered to the gate of your choice. Just remember which car park you are in – east or west.
#6 – Preparation is key
The Henty Machinery Field Days Guide is an 80-page magazine that highlights everything you need to know about the event and more. Don’t wait until you get to the gate to grab a copy – get in early and read it without all the distractions of a gazillion stalls luring you in.
#7 – Get your wheels in motion
Yes, you are likely to face delays when you reach the final part of your journey to the field days site, whichever direction you come from. As would be expected, thousands of people converging on one area will make for some bottlenecks. There are only two public entry points to the Cookardinia Road location, so organisers suggest adding an hour to what your Google map or GPS predicts. The peak bottlenecks occur between 9 am and 10 am, so if you want to be the early bird that gets the worm, leave home at dawn! Gates open at 8 am and it’s not unusual for there to be arrivals from when the car parks open at 7 am.
#8 – I’m not really able to walk long distances
The field days have you covered here with Show Lockers on site (52 & 53 western gate end) and you can hire a mobility scooter (from $120 to $205 for the day) to get you around the 105-hectare extravaganza. As the saying goes, pre-book to avoid disappointment and all reservations will require a driver’s licence or photo identification. Five scooter options are available: ”small” caters for a single adult up to 110 kg weight through to ”double”, which caters to two adults up to a combined maximum weight of 227 kg.
#9 – Pull over, driver!
If you run out of steam during the day, you can hop on a free shuttle bus that operates around the entire field day site, with eight designated drop-off and pick-up locations. Even better, if you see it coming towards you and you don’t have it in you to dash to the bus stop, hail it down with a big wave! They’ll stop and pick you up before you fall by the wayside. How good is that!
#10 – And finally …
- Many exhibitors are set up with EFTPOS but if you are needing extra cash, you’ll find an ATM on site 567 (near the office precinct).
- There are portaloos in the carparks, so if you’ve done a three-hour journey, you and/or the kids will be able to get some relief without the cross-your-legs walk to the entry point.
- Speaking of which, there is also a courtesy transfer service from both carparks to take you to the entry gates if you happen to be parked in the far reaches.
- Food, glorious food. There are seven food sheds operated by community groups and another two commercial areas with an additional 15 vendors. Plenty of fuel to keep you functioning on all four.
Henty Machinery Field Days takes place at Cookardinia Road, Henty and runs from 19-21 September. Find out more and book online here.
Original Article published by Vanessa Hayden on Region Riverina.