There was a spectacular sunset on Sunday evening and a fun-filled evening of trivia as the Drovers Campfire weekend ended for 2023.

Organisers and volunteers have worked very hard for many weeks and with the support of sponsors, along with numerous volunteers from Boggabri community groups and volunteers from Lions Club members from all over the state, Drovers Campfire has once again been a highly successful and enjoyable event.

Clifford Toomey performed the Welcome to Country and Richard Gillham opened the event on Friday saying how happy the committee were to welcome everyone back to Boggabri.

The final count was 204 vans which brings a massive influx of people into the Boggabri community.

During the next few days organisers will tally the shopper dockets and will have a better idea as to how much money has been spent locally, of course not everyone submits their dockets but it is an indicator.

Boggabri and District Football Club cooked and served 200 baked dinners on Saturday evening and from reports they could have sold more had they had capacity.

Visitors were spoilt for choice of food with food vans, barbecues, scones, soup, dampers, pizzas, kebabs or Chinese at the RSL.

The Sacred Heart School were kept busy serving coffee and at one point had to call their school principal to bring in more supplies.

Most bus trips were booked out with participants enjoying learning about the coal and agricultural aspects of the district.

There was many and varied market stall holders on Saturday to cater for plants, shoes, clothing, painting, honey, leatherwear, collectables, health checks and bric-a-brac.

A large crowd gathered to watch the paws up display and to inspect the antique machinery displays.

Little ones were not left out with Ooranga Family Mobile Resource Unit supplying activities and sand play while the adults played bingo.

There was live music every day around the campfire and little Annie Snape would have been the most excited three-year-old there.

It was her third birthday and she told everyone that would listen which included her great-grandparents, Geoff and Elaine Eather, grandparents Richard and Joanna Gillham and parents Sam and Kayla Snape how excited she was with all these people coming to her birthday party.

On Saturday afternoon, a massive storm blew in and the crack of lightning and thunder had people scurrying for shelter and battening down the hatches.

Despite the rain, the Saturday night Hypnosis Spectacular by Matt Hale went ahead after the organisers hooked the stage to a tractor and dragged it around the new shed and in between the big shed.

Tarpaulins were set up against the weather so that attendees could stay dry throughout the performance.

Many people said that they had never seen a tractor drag a stage around in pouring rain and through the mud so that the show could go on.

Well-known local entertainer Sam Snape was one who was helping with the tractor and moving the stage and was asked had his roadies ever done that for him?

Many stories and friendships are relived at Drovers.

One lady told how she has been coming to Drovers since 2013 with a group, and included in that group are two girls which she has had a 63-year friendship.

They all met at school when they were six-year-olds.

The Courier caught up with Lynne Mott from Bowraville, having a yarn to the captain of Fire and Rescue Boggabri Brian King.

“We are here with a group of other Lions Club members and we come to help out each year, however this morning our smoke alarm starting beeping in the caravan at 6.30 am so I have been speaking to Brian and he has organised a new alarm for us,” Lynne said.

“My husband has some medical issues and because we live in a small town the firies are the first on scene when I call triple 000.

“They even beat the ambulance. I have so much respect and admiration for these volunteers.”

As with previous Drovers Campfire events, funds are channelled back into the community and a raffle was run with the proceeds of $1000 going to Liam Hobden.

Each day the attendees were able to participate in early morning exercise and on Sunday morning the Boggabri Community Church held a church serve in the big shed.

With the billy boiling postponed due to the storm on Saturday, it was held on Sunday with Richard Gillham the winner, Brendan (Bear) Gillham second and 16-year-old Digger Devine third.

The trivia night was the largest attendance at any Drovers and according to Karen Theo, “the best night I have ever had.”

After a well-earned rest, organisers are looking forward to welcoming back 38 vans who have already booked in for 2024 and no doubt there will be many more vans if the feedback it anything to go by.

Charmaine Berding said Sunday evening: “we haven’t had time to sit down and read the surveys but there has been a lot of positive verbal feedback and everyone saying see you next year.”

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