By TRACEY PRISK
ORGANISERS of this year’s Orange and District Picnic Races are expecting a good turnout on January 26, with thousands of people set to pour through the gates at Towac Park to make the most of the Australia Day long weekend.
Orange and District Picnic Races Committee president Ben O’Halloran hopes this year’s event will run as smoothly as last year’s.
“There were no incidents, everyone had a great day,” he said.
“We were able to donate $8000 to the local Merge program.
“One of the main aims of our committee is to raise money for local charities, and in 2013 we will be giving all proceeds to support Coonabahloo Gibir, Men of Canobolas in Orange that runs a mentoring program for indigenous youth.”
Mr O’Halloran said the predicted good weather should ensure numbers were up on last year’s attendance figure of 2500.
“Kick the day off with the Australia day celebrations at Cook Park and then head out the track at 12 [noon] for what is shaping up to be the largest race day of the year,” he said.
Mr O’Halloran said Orange held its first picnic race day in 1905 and it ran until 1915, recommencing in 1968.
“We often hear stories from Orange people about previous picnics they attended, or that they had a family member that was on the committee,” he said.
“We love to hear that.
“Our aim is to raise money for charity but it is also about keeping the country picnic race day tradition alive.
“Picnic races days are about getting a group of friends together and enjoying a day at the races.”
Fashions on the field for men and women will be a highlight of the event and Orange picnic races fashion coordinator Scarlett Hill said judges had several criteria in mind when looking for a winner, including style and originality.
Other highlights of the day include a six-race program with betting facilities at the track.
Gates open at noon. Entry costs $20, with children under 14 admitted free.