Clinton Young Farmers Black & Gold Community Ball organising committee members Mike O'Connell and Mel Dodds trip the light fantastic in Clinton's town centre in advance of this Saturday's event.

As well as raising funds for the club's Youth Scholarship programme, the annual ball also doubled as an important social gathering for the wider rural community, Miss Dodds said.

''Clinton's kind of halfway between everywhere, so it's a good meeting point for north and south to get together and have a bit of fun each year.''

About 400 people typically attended the ''tried and tested'' blend of live music, supper and cash bar, raising about $2000 to help young locals with tertiary or vocational studies, she said.

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This year's ''Black & Gold'' theme was an excuse to cast off the gumboots and dress to impress.

''People look forward to getting out and doing something a bit different. It's nice to have a formal touch once in a while.''

-By Richard Dawson