Rodders want community on board

The Rod Run is not all about cars – it’s a weekend for the whole family.

Narrandera Earlies Rod Run organiser Steven Alldrick was in Narrandera last week canvassing the town for support for next year’s Rod Run weekend and was very pleased with the response so far.

“We’re really happy, walking the street, just educating people,” Mr Alldrick said.

He said he is trying  to find ways to improve the event for both locals in Narrandera and  entrants in the Rod Run. Part of what Mr Alldrick is hoping to do is find sponsorship from local businesses in the hope of keeping ticket prices lower for entrants. The less entrants have to spend on tickets, the more they can spend in the town.

“We’re not chasing money; if you’ve got products, you’ve got stock, you’ve got things to give – it all helps. Even a box of Caramello koalas to give out to the kids is a help. Service stations can offer things like ice, fuel cards and vouchers. There’s also gas bottle refills that we can use to run the barbecues. Stuff like that brings the cost down. People like that, they’re all on board with the idea.”

One of the main parts of the festival that Mr Alldrick is trying to improve is the Show and Shine on the Marie Bashir Park oval, typically held on Easter Sunday.

“Last night and yesterday (Thursday) I spent a lot of time with the Narrandera Shire Council. I had a meeting with the Mayor Neville Kschenka and General Manager George Cowan. We took a long walk around the oval.

“The oval has never been anything to do with us. We’ve brought the cars, we’ve parked on the oval and we’ve left again. However, as you know from six months ago, it’s become our problem – the layout etc needs to be tidied up and made better for everyone.”

There was some controversy this year over the state of the oval after the Easter long weekend. A dodgem car ride, which was established on the oval itself, became bogged. It broke the park sprinkler system as a result and the surface of the oval was damaged when its owners tried to move it.

There were also rumblings from local clubs that local businesses were left at a disadvantage, due to their location.

“The Council is going to organise a tender for different clubs or organisations to take the market stall part of it over to the benefit their club. The market stalls are $50 each and that money was just going into the Council before. It’s just a bit higgledy-piggledy,” Mr Alldrick said.

“The Council just want it tidied up. They want formality; a marked out area so each market stall will be following the new footpath on each side, around that whole lower side of the park where the new playground is.

“This is a really exciting new idea, because that whole area was not utilised in the past; it was just abandoned from the old zoo. Whereas now there’s a new playground, new toilets and a new footpath and all those market stalls can follow the edge of the oval on both sides of the footpath.

“Everyone gets the same area, everyone gets the same opportunity, no one’s shoved in the corner, no one’s unfairly treated. The market stalls will get a better opportunity and having that, the money will stay in Narrandera.

“If the amusements are to stay in Narrandera they will be in the middle where the playground is, so basically, it will be a big kids’ zone. That’s pretty exciting,” Mr Alldrick said.

Mr Alldrick has also approached the Vintage Machinery Club.“They’re going to run a swap-meet. They can generate a bit of income for their club and that whole area can grow and continue.”

Where Mr Alldrick hopes to see local businesses come on board is Saturday night’s lapping of the main.

“We’d really like a few more shops to take on board that Saturday night will be 5pm to 9pm and that gives them an opportunity to be open, even if it’s only from 5pm to 7pm. A lot of people can utilise their footpath. Also, it’s just a lot safer. It’s better all round.

“We’re having traffic control and in regard to parking in the main street – two blocks of it will be just for entrants and hot rods to park in.”

Mr Alldrick would also like to see opportunities for busi-nesses along the whole street.

“This end of the street [near the office of  The Argus] is a little bit dead. People are feeling that they’re a little bit out of it. If we can bring some of the activities down to these cross roads, the Murrumbidgee Hotel and Mitre 10 crossroad, that’ll be better.

“We just need more food in the street, so we may be looking at sporting clubs, cricket or netball or anything, to come in and give them an opportunity to do food in the street. Because the shops just can’t keep up and some shops just don’t want to open.”

Mr Alldrick is delighted with how many local businesses have already agreed to support Ladies’ Day at the Lake Talbot Caravan Park. Ladies’ Day is a chance for entrants to let their hair down and enjoy themselves.

“We get 120 to 150 females from 16, 18, to 70 year olds. They get to have a wine (if of legal age of course!), get their make-up done, try on dresses and stuff, so we’ve got a dozen different women-orientated shops that can come up from the street.

“My wife Kathleen runs that and that really has been a hit for the last eight years because the women haven’t got the kids there, it’s all about them for a couple of hours.

“The Rod Run is not all about cars, and it’s a family weekend,” Mr Alldrick said.

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