Sunny Saturday tops off Fieldays with good turnout

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 05:00 16/06/2014

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The sun was out and punters flocked to the gates before they opened for the final day of Fieldays.

While Friday was the standout day number-wise, Saturday also brought in a crowd of both farmers and townies.

About 32,181 came through, which was "really good going for a Saturday", NZ National Fieldays chief executive Jon Calder said.

Among the visitors was Raetihi sheep and cattle farmer David Berry.

He has been coming "just about ever since they started".

"I think I've only missed a couple."

"We mark it on the calendar every year . . .

"If you looked at everything that you're interested in you'd be here for four days."

Fieldays was a good excuse for a couple of days off; the best place to check out a range of machinery to keep up to date; and he liked the Ag Art Wear creations, he said.

But the agricultural expo also attracted "through and through city slicker" Doug Battersby of Hamilton.

He was spending the day catching up with friends and supporting mate Jeff Peek, who took out the Rural Bachelor of the Year competition.

This year Friday - the first sunny day - was the second biggest on record.

"The interesting thing is that we had to actually go and talk to some neighbours and take on some more car parking," Calder said.

"We've never had to do that, ever," Calder said.

Total visitor numbers would be down on last year but in line with what the Fieldays team had forecast, so they were happy.

Exhibitors also found those who braved the weather were the most determined buyers, Calder said.

And the Fieldays team's dedication in the challenging conditions would be one of the things that stuck in his mind about this year's event.

"It was looking pretty scary at 6 o'clock on Wednesday morning when the wind was just getting stronger and stronger and stronger," he said.

"We had staff and volunteers on site basically holding the place together and making sure that we were in good shape and our exhibitors were in good shape to open at 8 o'clock."

The international guests from 38 different countries and support from the Government had also been highlights for him.

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- Waikato Times

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