In a city with a solid reputation for fine dining, fresh food and great wine it’s surprising to find that snorting, plodding camels are one of our biggest crowd pullers.
The annual Easter Sunday camel races attracted about 7000 for the third year in a row putting it behind only the Anzac Day main service, the Millthorpe Markets and on par with an NRL trial game for attracting the biggest one day crowds in the Orange region.
The Anzac service attracts 10-12,000 people each year to the CBD for the 11am commemorations.
With Redmond Oval’s works completed in time for the Millthorpe Markets to use it again a crowd of about 8500 attended earlier this month.
Wade Park hosted 7588 people when Canberra and Newcastle played an NRL trial game in February last year.
And next biggest is the camels.
Event co-ordinator Graeme Eggleston said the event made a profit of about $38,000.
“Its the uniqueness, it’s mainly a family day out,” he said.
“Apart from the camel races you’ve got market stalls, you’ve got a jumping castle, you’ve got things for the kids to do.
“It's the complete package, with something to do between the races.”
Mr Eggleston said busloads of people came from out of town and he had received many calls from people in Sydney and interstate about the event.
Orange City Council’s Employment and Economic Development Committee chair, Cr Jeff Whitton said Orange’s interim tourism board would be looking at new directions for events in the city.
“Traditionally, food and wine has been the key focus of promotional strategies, but one of the key findings from some recent industry workshops with local providers was the suggestion to explore the value of targeting more major sporting events,” he said.
“These could be something like an NRL pre-season game that would attract 5000 people to one afternoon, or a masters cycling event that would attract a thousand riders over a long weekend.
“Both would leave a significant economic impact.
“These are the directions that Orange’s new interim tourism board is keen to explore.”
Cr Whitton said apart from events’ immediate economic value they also helped attract people to move to Orange.
The city will host major cycling and karting events this weekend.