A record crowd of over 5000 people attended the weekend’s Man from Ironbark Festival in Stuart Town.
Stuart Town Advancement Association (STAA) president Marcus Hanney was over-the-moon about the amount of people who turned out to witness Stuart Town celebrate its rich history.
“It was an absolutely fantastic day. The entire STAA were amazed with just how many people actually turned up.
“It was by far the biggest Ironbark Festival Stuart Town has ever seen,” he said.
Mr Hanney said that while the majority of the crowd came from throughout the Central West region, there were guests who came from further away as well.
“There were some people who came in from Penrith just for the festival. I’m sure there were more people who came from further away, but I just couldn’t speak to everyone,” he said.
One of those in attendance was poetry aficionado and former Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson. He and his two children performed 10 poems during the festival including some self-written works and some from Banjo Patterson.
Mr Dickerson said he had strong links with Stuart Town (formerly known as Ironbarks) with his great grandparent Thomas and Elizabeth Dickerson settling in the area around 1867.
“My Great Grandfather was buried in the Ironbarks cemetery in 1916,” Mr Dickerson said.
“My Grandfather moved to Eumungerie and then to Dubbo. My Dad used to tell me about riding his bike from Eumungerie in to Dubbo to go to school and then they eventually moved into Dubbo.
“I used to claim I was a third generation local but now after the amalgamation and my family’s history in Stuart Town, I can now claim to be a fourth generation local!”
As well as attracting a larger crowd than last year, Mr Hanney said there was also a focus on drawing in more market stalls.
He was thrilled with the STAA’s results.
“We ended up having 160 market stalls on the day. It was a huge increase on the around-about 100 stalls we had last year,” he said.
Mr Hanney said the STAA has has a tremendous response from the stall-holders.
“We’ve already received word from most of the people running the stalls… they’ve just about all said they’re coming back next year.
“We have a little bit of extra space we might be able to use, so we’ll just have to see how many more we can bring in next year.”
Mr Hanney said the enormous crowd was just the cherry on top of the cake.
“We absolutely love putting the festival on every year, but this year was something special.
“We were able to put on one of the biggest events in the region for the year so far.
“That really makes the work done by the entire Advancement Association so much more rewarding,” he said.
Mr Hanney said planning has already started for next years festival.
“There’s no rest for the wicked; we’re already looking ahead to what we can do to make next year’s festival a must-attend event in the region… that’s our plan.”