Sam Elphick – Wauchope Lasiandra Festival

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Chrissy Jones talks to Wauchope Lasiandra Festival President Sam Elphick about the upcoming festival, which is in its 27th year. The festival will celebrate Wauchope’s floral emblem – the Lasiandra, with a variety of events across the entire month of March.

The festival isn’t far off, Sam. How are preparations going?

Things are progressing nicely. We have a wide cross section of community involvement this year; new members have joined the committee and have brought with them new ideas, which has resulted in a refreshed attitude from members and added a renewed energy to the festival.

You have some new events this year. Tell us more about those …

The Rotary Club of Wauchope are kick-starting the festival with a new event – the Lasiandra Swing Dance. The dance will be held at the Wauchope Showground Hall on Saturday 5 March, commencing at 7.30pm. This is a wonderful event, with all proceeds from the evening going to the Wauchope Hospital Palliative Care Unit – a very worthwhile cause.

Tickets are $25 per head, with a light supper being provided. If people can get a table of friends together and come along, I assure them they will have a fantastic evening. For more enquiries, contact Bev: 0427 655 919.

I hear the Black Magic Big Band are playing …

The Black Magic Big Band is a 17-piece band under the direction of Sharon Green. Sharon is the Instrumental Coordinator at St Joseph’s Regional College and St Paul’s High School.

The band has been together for 3 years, with members coming from all over the Hastings. It is the only group in the Hastings that has the traditional Big Band line-up of 2 alto sax, 2 tenor sax, baritone sax, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, rhythm and bass guitars, piano, drums and vocalists.

The band’s repertoire consists of big band classics like In the Mood, Satin Doll and popular vocal arrangements of songs like Fever and Summertime.

You also have a cabaret evening on the calendar of events for the festival. Where is this being held, and can anyone go along?

Yes, three local ladies of incredible musical and theatrical talent, Greta Warner, Rosa Vanderley and Brianna Ranking are joining forces to bring together a great cabaret show during the festival. There will be lots of singing, dancing and of course, wonderful costumes to delight audiences.

Wauchope Youth Theatre Group will be performing as well on the night, dancing routines from Oliver and the Phantom. This night will be held at the Wauchope Arts Hall on Saturday evening, 12 March, commencing at 7.30pm. Cost is just $10 per ticket. Bookings are essential, and seats are limited. I encourage you to phone 6584 0184 to secure your seat.

There are many sporting events included as well. Tell us about some of those.

A couple of events have been with us for the entire 27 years; both the greyhounds and horse racing have been there since day one. The greyhounds will be a night meeting on Saturday 19 March at the Beechwood Road track. The 27th Annual Lasiandra Cup will run at approximately 7pm. Easter Monday will see Wauchope Jockey Club host the 27th Lasiandra Trophy Race. This is a great day at the Wauchope racecourse, and there are prizes for the Best Purple Dressed.

Another sporting activity included in the festival is the Ladies’ Bowls Lasiandra Triples, to be held on Monday 7 March at Wauchope Country Club. This is traditionally a big day on the Wauchope Ladies’ Bowlers calendar, with both bowling greens in action. The Battle of the Hastings, contested by golf members of Port Macquarie and Wauchope, will be held at Wauchope Golf Course on Saturday 12th, with a 6.30am tee off. More golf, including events for the Veteran Ladies and Men on various days and Ladies on Wednesday 16th, table tennis, junior tennis and the Jack Dwyer Memorial Triples are further sporting events included.

Your committee organises some specific events – what are those?

We organise the Country Fair, Purple People Day and the Festival Awards in Lasiandra Park. The Lasiandra Country Fair will be held at the Wauchope Indoor Sports Stadium, Cameron Street, on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 March. Hours are 8.30am to 4pm both days. Entry is just $3 per adult, with kids free.

It’s traditionally a great family day out. It was previously known as the Alternative Farming and Lifestyle Field Days. We changed venues to the Wauchope Indoor Sports Stadium on Cameron Street to give us more under cover area for exhibitors. The Fair has been evolving for 14 years now and has just about everything on display under the one roof.

It is pleasing to note that one of our very first exhibitors is still with us in 2011; the Manning Valley Dexter Group will have a stand offering their product for sale in the form of a steak sandwich and will also provide us a cow for the staging of cow pat lotto.

Cow pat lotto! What’s the go with that?

It’s our main fundraiser for the festival and a fun way of both raising funds to help us fulfill some of our objectives: to promote Wauchope and all it has to offer to locals and visitors alike; help other not-for profit groups; and it enables us to give away $1,000 to one lucky ticket holder.

Tickets are available over the two days of the Fair on 12 and 13 March, with the Dexter cow doing its business on the Sunday at approximately 2pm.

Andrew Stoner will be in attendance to officiate; he is an old hand at this, having been involved with the festival for many, many years.  If you don’t know how it’s conducted, you will have to come along to the fair and have a look for yourself, as I’m not going to get into that!

What should people expect if they attend the Country Fair?

Lots and lots of different things to see, touch, smell and taste. Something for all the family is assured. From kiddies’ rides and amusements to face painting and yummy foods, the little ones will have a great time.

Tarot and psychic readings, crystals and jewellery, homemade jams, pickles and preserves, emu and herbal products, information stands, local business displays, solar and wind power exhibits, encaustic art display, bamboo flooring, organic seeds and seedlings, plants and herbs, hardware and tools, timber outdoor furniture, plus much, much more. There really is something for everyone.

Do you have any community groups involved with the festival?

Many are involved with the fair. There will be displays from the local Physical Culture Club, FAWNA, Landcare, Camp Quality, Camden Haven Music Festival, The Timbertown Steam & Oil Club, and the Hastings Auto Restorers will be bringing along some beautiful vintage cars. Our gatekeepers are members of the Beechwood Rural Fire Service, and Apex are also involved.

What’s Purple People Day?

Probably one of the best days on the calendar for Wauchope’s CBD. The town comes alive, with Purple People everywhere! This is traditionally held on the Thursday after the Fair; this year it will be held on 17 March.

Shopkeepers and staff are asked to decorate their shop premises, window fronts and themselves; there are prizes up for grabs – it’s a great day. Art and craft market stalls join participating businesses with sidewalk specials, for a day of shopping and bargain hunting in Wauchope’s shopping precinct.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has just erected a sign to commemorate a past Lasiandra member, haven’t they?

Yes, they have. Our committee is very pleased about this. A sign and some Lasiandra trees had been removed in conjunction with the construction of the boardwalk along the riverbank in River Street. After some negotiation, a beaut new sign has been installed that honours Jack Dwyer. Jack was one of the founders of the Lasiandra Festival and also a past Council Parks and Gardens employee. It is great that they have reinstated the sign in Jack Dwyer Reserve to recognise Jack’s hard work and love of Wauchope. We will be planting a memorial garden as well, in due course.

Is there still an opportunity for people to be involved with the festival, and how can they find out more info?

You can still book a site for both the Country Fair and Purple People Day if you wish to be involved to promote your business, product, service or community group. You can go to our website at and check out the full programme of events, download an exhibitor form for the Country Fair or contact us via email: if you wish to book a site at the Fair or Purple People Day. Ph: 0412 137 621 for more info as well.

Thank you Sam.

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