A NEW concrete hardstand area at the Orange Showground could pave the way for Carols by Candlelight to relocate from the Civic Square North Court, according to show society president Peter Naylor.
The state government has given Orange City Council a $49,950 grant for the hardstand area, designed to host outdoor markets and events, and $13,700 for additional power for equine activities at the showground.
The council applied for the funding after finally reaching a crown land trust agreement with showground users earlier this year.
Mr Naylor said the showground users and the council were yet to decide on the location of the hardstand but hoped it would be close to a new pavilion planned for the grounds.
Although the hardstand area is unlikely to be finished in time for next year’s show on May 10 and 11, Mr Naylor said it would open the door for more events at the showground and would also be used by the farmers’ markets and car shows.
“I would have loved Carols by Candlelight to have been over there,” he said.
“I think it will be used every day of the week.”
Mr Naylor hopes the two state government grants will generate increased activity at the showground over the next year, with the show society having also applied for a grant from the Agricultural Societies Council (ASC).
“We’re applying for every grant we can find,” he said.
“That’s the only way we’re going to get a lot of the ground’s work done. All showgrounds do the same thing.”
Next on the agenda for the ground will be painting the pavilions, establishing a round ring and changing the main entrance.
With the showground’s camping area full to capacity in recent days with seasonal workers picking cherries in Orange, Mr Naylor welcomed the extra activity at the grounds.
“I’m happy for the backpackers to be there because it all goes back into the grounds and people can see it’s being used,” he said.
“I want that showground to be used everyday of the year... you drive past the Bathurst Showground and there’s an event on every weekend.”