Beefed-up Beef Week launched
CATTLE in the street is what makes Casino's Beef Week stand out, is the popular opinion.
Beef Week is poised to become a national event, with four-year government funding and a new look and branding.
Tourism consultant Linda Tillman has been advising the Beef Week committee on raising the profile of the event and refreshing the brand.
The event website has also had an overhaul.
"Casino is a benchmark for a lot of other festivals," Ms Tillman said. "They look at this event with envy."
Cows in main street
After speaking with residents and organisers, the led steer cattle in the street was a highlight.
"No-one else is doing it," Ms Tillman said.
While everyone she spoke to was proud of Beef Week, they wanted to see a revitalisation of the event, too.
"Richmond Valley is a leader in other primary industries besides beef, although that is at the heart of it," she said.
One aspect that arose again and again in Ms Tillman's enquiries was the amount of fun people have at Beef Week.
Established in 1982, Beef Week needed to go national and be sustainable for years to come, she said.
This might include focusing on women in agriculture, tech tours and school tours.
"A national sign should be erected," she said.
We don't need Elvis
Richmond Valley Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald grew up in Parkes.
"I've seen what happened to Parkes with the Elvis Festival," Mr Macdonald said.
"It started as a dinner at a building called Gracelands."
The Elvis Festival has gone from being a community event to an international festival linked to the Elvis Foundation where 25,000 people attend.
"The community capitalised on the event with the flow-on benefit of an Elvis Museum," Mr Macdonald said.
"Byron Bay is full, let's draw people to Evans Head and Casino in Beef Week."
Northern Co-operative Meat Company is the major sponsor of Beef Week again.
Chairman John Seecombe said the highlight for him was judging the Meatpacker's Prize at the Beef Week Art Exhibition.
He said the beef event in Rockhampton was different to Casino.
"We go with our notebooks to Rocky, here we leave the notes and enjoy ourselves," he said.
Mr Seecombe wanted to arrest the decline in the local cattle industry in the past three decades.
"Our future depends on it," he said.
The NCMC's ethos was "we all grow together" and Mr Seecombe said that's why the company supported Beef Week.
"Unity in a community brings resilience," he said.
Beef Week Queen Ashleigh Little announced the Beef Week theme of "rural Australia".
That means farmers, cowboys, cowgirls and anything that symbolises rural Australia, she said.
Beef Week president Stuart George announced the moving of the event office into the Casino CBD in the former Halliday Jewellers site in Walker St.
"This will happen soon, doors will open by the end of the month," Mr George said.
"We are excited to follow this new road map."
Bringing in money
Mayor Robert Mustow said Beef Week was a signature event that brought in $3.5million a year.
From taxi drivers to bar staff, there was an economic flow-on from Beef Week, he said.