Rally wheels start to roll
THE ATMOSPHERE in the Kyogle business district can only be likened to the excitement otherwise reserved for little kids in the lead-up to Christmas.
People are buzzing from shop-to-shop, ordering in more stock and organising events and merchandise to be showcased for the coming weekend through the Kyogle Fringe Festival. It's hard to believe the promise of the smell of petrol fumes can cause such a stir, but that is what the Repco Rally has done in the small country town.
Elder Bundjulahm, also known as Patsy Nagas, is one very excited stallholder. She is keen to sell her Aboriginal arts and crafts on the Saturday and Sunday in the street markets to be held over the weekend.
“I am looking forward to it,” she said. “This town needs a boost. We have had three major industries go down in Kyogle and it's become a virtual financial ghost town.”
As a member of the Aboriginal Land Council, she welcomes everyone to Kyogle. Joanne Moore, of Scarborough Shoes, agrees the rally is what Kyogle needs, believing it will help to bring in the tourism dollar.
“Only yesterday I sold a pair of joggers to a guy from Melbourne who is camping here to see the rally,” she said. “We don't know how it will go, as it is a real unknown, but that is part of the excitement.”
Scarborough Shoes, along with other fashion retail stores, and the Anglican and Quota Ladies community groups will be holding a Spring Fashion on Thursday night to showcase their merchandise.
“We do it every year for Spring Fashion,” Ms Moore said. “But this year we will be doing it in conjunction with the rally.”
Bernadette Dever, owner of the Box n Dice Cafe, prefers to take a more tempered stance on the economic effects the rally will have on the town.
“I think people shouldn't expect too much,” she said. “A lot of the main party events will end at Kingscliff. I think it's wise to be cautious.”
Having said that Ms Dever has organised a family dance party on Friday night starting at 4pm, then Jazz in Extenso will play on Saturday night and bookings have been positive.
“I won't be concentrating on the rally so much as I will be on the events we are holding,” she said.
With an estimated 6,500 visitors per day visiting the rally, according to the Conics Report - Rally Australia's Socio-Economic Impact Assessment - it is forecasted that an approximate total of $31.89 million will be generated in income within the Tweed and Kyogle Shires as a result of the Repco Rally 2009.
“We will also be doing surveys during the event so we can ascertain how well the economy was boosted once it is all over,” chairman of the Rally organising committee Garry Connelly said this week.
Mr Connelly also points out that many people will be basing themselves at Kyogle as the viewing stages are much better on that part of the course. “The Ford and Citroen teams will be staying in Kyogle and have booked out a number of motels as well,” he said.
Mr Connelly believes the Kyogle business district can expect at least 4000 plus visitors over the weekend.