A rainy start couldn’t dampen a successful Central Districts Field Days in New Zealand, which recorded a 20% boost in numbers over its three days. Source: Stuff NZ
Fairfax national events manager Brett McMeekin said it was the first time they had used a ticketing system and had close to exact numbers.
“We had 29,500 over the three days, which we’re pretty happy about.”
That was 20% up on last year.
Despite some “horizontal rain” they still got 7900 through the gate on one day.
The other two days each got more than 10,000 attendances.
Meanwhile the New Zealand Agri Investment Week, which lead into the Field Days, was also a success.
Event director Lance Bickford said everything went as planned.
“The conference numbers were well up on any projections we’d done. Basically every night of the week was full in terms of accommodation,” he said.
“I think we put on a great show for them, I think we really showed Palmerston North in a great light.”
McMeekin said they were glad to not have the rain carry through.
“If it rains on one of the big public days then it really hurts you.”
He did not have figures of sales from stallholders but said they had not received any negative feedback.
Looking ahead to next year, McMeekin said there were things to work on.
“I think the key thing is fine weather.
“But we’re always looking to improve, especially making it easier for the exhibitors.”
This year there were 586 exhibitors, up from 570 last year.
McMeekin said they wanted Central Districts Field Days to have a consistency with national Field Days.
“Most of these guys exhibit there as well, we want to align with that. We’re not competitors because we’re at opposite ends of the year.”
The Agri week had two conferences and 300 people expected across both, but they ended up with more than 450.
The expected turnout for their forums was 40 to 50 per event and those had all been 60 plus.
Mr Bickford said it had become a landmark event.
“It has delivered some huge economic value for the region, there’s no question about it. The more important fact is that it has really started some high level conversation about the future of agri for New Zealand.
“Our whole ambition was to make this the place where that conversation got held every year.”
Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitikei provincial president James Stewart said it was a positive week and there was an upside to the early rain.
“It was good to see rain on the first day. It might have dampened the Field Days a bit, but it was a morale booster for farmers in the region.”
He said the Agri Investment Week forums were a positive too.
Though farmers might not be in a position to be spending, Stewart said the event was a chance to catch up with the latest goods and services on offer “for when good times do come”.