Manning River Summer Festival

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The Manning River Summer Festival offers fun-filled activities for the whole family to enjoy – here are two of the events on offer.

> Why were these events created?

Both these events are initiatives of the lower Manning communities of Harrington and Manning Point and are part of the Manning River Summer Festival.

Because of their unique location and what the area has to offer, it was thought that certain events needed to be created to draw visitors to the area.

Although the Valley has great natural beauty, it was felt that visitors would not come unless they had a reason and something to do while they were here.

Like the promotional brochure says – Seeing’s believing – Staying’s better.

> When was the Tagged Fish Roundup event started?

Six years ago this event commenced with a prize pool of $600. This year it will be worth $6,000 and is drawing visitors from a wide section of NSW.

> From how far away are visitors coming?

Two years ago a young girl from Dubbo caught the then $600 ‘Super Fish’, and the year before that a young boy from Cowra caught one of the major prize winning fish.

This year advertising has been extended as far west as Dubbo and Gilgandra, north to Tenterfield and Grafton, south to communities in the Hunter Valley, out to Merriwa and communities in between.

> How is the event organised?

Twenty four fish are tagged and released into the Harrington /Manning Point estuary area for catching during the month of January. There is no entry fee, and anyone who catches a fish with a yellow tag attached need only take the tag to the Harrington Hotel to claim their prize.

The event is sponsored by local businesses, with the biggest prize this year being the $700 Amalgamated Pest control ‘Super Fish’. There are several other fish of $300, $400 and $500 in value to be caught.

> What sort of fish are tagged?

All the fish tagged are flathead. This is by choice, as other species are known to migrate whereas flathead will remain in the river and are available to be caught.

Each year a different set of tag numbers are used, and prizes will only be paid against those numbers.

If people want to know more about the event, who should they contact?

A website has been developed: www.taggedfishroundup.co.cc  or you could ring the Harrington Hotel on 6556 1205.

When was the Poets by the Sea event started?

This is a new event being held for the first time this year and is borne out of the same enthusiasm and commitment from residents of the lower Manning.

It is to be held on the weekend of January  30th, 31st and 1st February 2009 and is a first for the Manning Valley. The plan to hold a Bush Poetry event with a seaside theme is different and has a certain appeal.

> How is the event organised?

The event is divided into two parts, Entertainment – for which professional poets have been engaged, and a competition. The competition is open to all and is divided into a seniors division and a junior division for those eighteen years of age and under. The competition section is also divided into written verse and performance verse section, for which there is $2,000 in prize money on offer.

> Who are the professional poets?

Most of the poets will be coming directly from the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

One of them, Melanie Hall from Townsville, is a three times Australian champion and has represented Australia in the USA in poetry competitions in Colorado and Nevada.

Another is Susie Carcary, who is the current 2008 NSW champion.

Others include Bill Kearns, Sam Smyth, Gary Lowe, and Peter Pratt, a Balladeer.

> What is the competition part of the event all about?

The competition, for which $2,000 is on offer, has been donated by the Harrington community.

 It is divided into two sections, an Open Division for all ages, and a Junior Division for those eighteen years of age and under.

Each division is divided into a written verse and a performance verse section.

> Who would be the likely contestants in the competition?

In the performance verse section of the Open Division there is $700 on offer as first prize.

This sort of prize money will attract some of the best competition (performance) poets in NSW.

The prize money on offer for the junior division will also attract some of the rising stars in the junior performance category.

There is also a written verse section in the competition, with major prizes on offer for junior and senior poets who can write but not recite good verse.

> Who are the judges for the competition?

Because there are two parts to the competition, namely the written section and the performance section, the judges have different roles.

In the written section judges remain anonymous, as do the contestants. The judges, however, are recognised within the Australia Bush Poets Association as accredited judges.

The judges for the performance section are three of the professional poets engaged to entertain and perform for us over the weekend.

Part of their role is to judge the heats and finals in the performance competition.

> What’s on offer for visitors?

A wide range of activities are planned, from a poets’ breakfast, luncheons, river cruises, coach discovery tours, a Poets by the Sea concert, competition heats, and a Grand Finale.

Also there will be a poets’ brawl, a novice walk-up event, and a Church in Verse worship service.

For those who can only take their poetry in small doses, there is the Surfin’ the Turf competition at the Harrington Bowling Club and at the Harrington Waters Golf Course.

> If people want to know more who should they contact?

For further information check out the website: www.poetsbythesea.sythasite.com

The lower Manning residents are to be congratulated. They realise that although they live in an area that possesses many natural assets, they cannot rely solely on these to draw visitors to the area, and unless they create reasons for people to visit and things for them to do while they are here, then visitors will pass them by.

For visitors and locals, January in the lower Manning has a lot to offer and is worth a visit.

Enjoy.

> Thank you Bill.

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