Darkan event demonstrates it’s about more than just living in a community; it is in fact belonging to one.
Darkan Sheepfest was recently held in the Shire of West Arthur, and it is continuing to be the talk of the town. What set out to be a small event in 2018 that promoted the local sheep and wool industry and tourism for the Shire has now evolved into bringing the whole community together. This was acknowledged by visitors who wished the same for their own home towns. This winning formula will now continue for Darkan Sheepfest in 2020.
With over 1000 people having passed through the gate by early afternoon, the Darkan Sheepfest committee could not be happier with this year’s outcome.
Nathan King, Darkan Sheepfest Chairperson –
“Whilst these events do take a lot of time and effort to run, it has all been worth it. We have a small steering committee but ultimately the volunteering from the overall community is what has made it another success.”
The Darkan Sheepfest program continued with the popular 2018 program which included the sport shear competition, ewe hogget competition and free children’s entertainment, however three new headline events really got the media buzzing in the lead up to the day and in which thoroughly entertained the crowds on the day.
Margaret River resident Ann Wright commented –
“This is my second time at Darkan Sheepfest. I have been to many shows over the years and have worked in customer service most of my life and I can tell you that country people are the best kind of people you will ever come across. If you and your family and friends live in the city, take the time to travel out to these small towns and go to their shows. I can honestly say, you will want to keep coming back.”
Whilst one farmer who is resting up a hamstring injury may no longer be a fan; the Farmer vs Footballer Farm Boot Foot Race was a crowd favourite. Dan South (18) and Mackenzie Goss (16) proved what most of the locals already knew – that farmers do really run faster in farm boots.
The Young Farmer Challenge has now officially made a resurgence in WA, having been held at Dowerin Field Days and now at Darkan Sheepfest. A very popular tradition in the Eastern States, the hope is for other WA towns to now come on board and then perhaps see which town has the state’s best Young Farmers.
Darkan Sheepfest makes a point of ensuring the whole day is about fun and being affordable for the whole family. But there was one special activity that came with a serious note and a request for a few dollars.
‘Dunk for Dolly’ saw the use of an old-fashioned dunk tank and involved a few very brave local identities volunteering to be dunked, to not only raise money but more importantly to raise awareness of Dolly’s Dream.
A spokesperson from the Dolly’s Dream Foundation stated –
“Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett, aged 14, who took her own life after an extended period of bullying and cyberbullying. Dolly left behind her parents Tick and Kate and her sister Meg, who are now focused on using the money that has been kindly donated by the community to help prevent other families from going through the same devastating experience. With the generous support of people all over Australia, they are raising awareness about the serious issue of bullying and its devastating effects and providing assistance and support to children affected by bullying. By supporting Dolly’s Dream, you are helping to prevent the lives of other children being lost and acting as a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
Supporting Dolly’s Dream evolved from the aim of involving more youth in Darkan Sheepfest and they came along in droves. Generally, most teenagers would avoid situations that make them stand out in a crowd. The youth of Darkan Sheepfest are to be commended for how they represented not only themselves but also their community. From pulling on a pair of farm boots and doing a mad dash, to the challenge of lugging heavy farm gates in the Young Farmer Challenge and even parading around in a fair few woollen pom-poms whilst strutting the catwalk – they all did this with their heads held high.
Whilst the youth were well represented at Darkan Sheepfest, so were the older and younger generations. Miss Laila, 3 years old, strutting her stuff on the catwalk, and Mr Dew, 83 years young, directing traffic to parking areas, made a fine example that it doesn’t matter what age you are – you can always Act, Belong, Commit. Many comments from visitors reflected that Darkan Sheepfest not only catered for all ages but embraced volunteers of all ages.
Kylie Whitaker, Laila’s mother remarked –
“Having not grown up in Darkan, I love that my children can be involved in this community. It is so important from a young age to learn about volunteering. But with that, comes the personal benefits that kids get back from helping others. It certainly rings true that it takes a whole village to raise a child, in our case this town is helping raise our three!”
As the show came to an end, a town full of locals and visitors all stood around a bar built out of a grain silo, and chatted about the wool and sheep industry, whilst enjoying the sun going down. Darkan Sheepfest was a day well spent, a night to remember, and left everyone with a sense of belonging as they all headed for home.
For further information or other high-res images please contact Karlene Goss on 0428 361 366.
- The hard-working Dunking Crew Sam Burgess and Leigh Studsor
- The youth of Darkan participating in the Young Farmer Challenge and pushing the positive message to Act Belong Commit in your community!
- Miss Laila, 3 years old, and Mr Dew, 83 years young, made a fine example that it doesn’t matter what age – you can always Act,Belong, Commit.
- Local young farmer, Dan South, winner of the Farm Boot Foot Race and Dan Chia have been running rivals since Darkan Primary Schooldays, but they have never raced in farm boots before!
2019 Darkan Sheepfest Supreme Sponsors