Hay is ready to host big event

Claire Homer and Sam Bush, both from Hay, enjoying their first B&S at the return of the Hay B&S Ball last year. Picture: Chris Huntly
Claire Homer and Sam Bush, both from Hay, enjoying their first B&S at the return of the Hay B&S Ball last year. Picture: Chris Huntly

Almost 1000 people are expected to drive into Hay for the second Hay Dustdrinkers B&S Ball this June long weekend.

The Hay B&S Ball returned in 2012 after 15 years off the B&S circuit, and the comeback was declared a resounding success by organisers.

The first of hundreds of utes started streaming into the town of 3000 on the Friday night of last year’s June long weekend. 

By the next afternoon, more than 900 people had turned up for the return of one of the Riverina’s favourite past-times. 

That huge number far exceeded the committee’s expectations of up to 400, and by the time the weekend was over there wasn’t a takeaway rum can left in the town.

Not a group to shy away from a challenge, the band of volunteers behind the B&S’s comeback pulled together to almost empty the town of premixed drinks to ensure they wouldn’t run out of refreshments and start working on roasting more meat for the all-night dinner.

“We never really knew quite how many people we would end up with on the day, but after looking around at other recently-started B&Ss we estimated 400, but would have been thrilled with 300,” said Hay B&S committee member Chris Huntly. 

“We bought up as much of the alcohol, cups, and meat in town as we could but still ended up sending a ute to Deniliquin to stock up – just in case.”

“To get 900 people turn up was absolutely phenomenal, and most of the feedback we’ve been getting is that a lot of those people who supported us last year will be back this year – and bringing their mates.”

The inclusion of the Hay Dustdrinkers B&S Ball on the community’s already busy June long weekend calendar has opened up options for the town’s younger citizens, who may have previously looked to heading away for the weekend.

The Mini Car Nationals and lawn bowls championships already bring big crowds to the town, and the B&S has certainly filled the gaping hole left for the 18 to 35s demographic. 

The impact the ball had on the town’s economy and in enhancing the area’s reputation was recognised when the Hay Dustdrinkers B&S Ball was awarded event of the year at the Hay Australia Day Awards.

More than $30,0000 was spent in the township by the organisers alone, with the committee opting to buy as much as they could locally. 

“We had one local tell us they went to fuel up on the Sunday morning and thought ‘I’ll come back later’, because the service stations were full of people getting ready to head off,” Mrs Huntly said.

“A number of local businesses reported great patronage from people clearly in town for the B&S, with the local bakery having the busiest June long weekend they’ve ever had and even a thumbs up in the local paper to a couple of young guys who helped a supermarket customer when they realised she had a flat tyre.”

WHAT: Hay Dustdrinkers B&S Ball

WHEN: Saturday, June 8 2013

WHERE: Hay Showground Pavilion, Hay, NSW

COST: $95 prepaid, $110 at the gate

2012 BALL BY NUMBERS

- 900 patrons

- 600 eggs

- 200 people breathalysed by police

- 30kg bacon

- 0 people charged with drink-driving

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