Crowds flock to popular field days

By Annette Lambly

A whopping 11,000 people passed through the gates on the last day of the Northland Agricultural Field Days boosting overall attendance for the three day event to 25,000.

A slow start on Thursday saw only 6500 (revised from an estimated 5000 previously reported), followed by 7500 on Friday, but the large crowd on Saturday was well above the 8867 recorded last year and beefed up the total attendance to only a couple of hundred short of the last year's record crowd of 25,278.


Organisers say the 27th annual event ran as smoothly as clockwork.

Two that did feel the heat from the soaring temperatures were the two Clydesdale horses, Bert a 17.3hh gelding and six -year-old stallion Lochie who spent the three days ferrying patrons around the site in a dray.

Owner Paul Stroobrant from Helensville who was attending the Northland event for the second time said "his boys were pretty tired" when it all wrapped up on Saturday.

"It was heat rather than the work that made it hard for them," he said.

Field Days president Lew Duggan estimated the event brings more than $15 million into Northland.

An Enterprise Northland commissioned AUT Economic Impact Study discovered 1250 people surveyed specifically went to the field days in 2008 to buy something, with an average spend of $738 per visitor - including food and accommodation.

IC Motor Group's Kelly Illerbrun said he and the company were original exhibitors and had been coming to the Field Days every year for the past 27 years.

"We've had a wonderful three days, we enjoy coming and its a well-run event," he said. Buyers however are more reserved this year," he noted, "we get some serious buyers, some good leads and are able to touch base with current or past customers."

Funding chairwoman Julie Geange said there was likely a number of reasons for buyers being a little more cautious, "many in the region are concerned about the drought-like conditions, there is uncertainty in the farming economy and the schedule had dropped."

- Northern Advocate

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