The Newdegate Machinery Field Days is ushering in a new era after celebrating its 50th birthday last year, with a fitting new theme of recycling and sustainability for this year’s event on September 6 and 7. Sustainability truly is what has kept the event going for more than 50 years, with the Field Days injecting nearly $1.5 million into the local community since the day the first was held in 1973. Its associated Newdegate Community Cropping Program has contributed an additional $1 million into the community, with dozens of projects able to be carried out with co-funding from the Field Days and Cropping Program. Also bolstering the sustainability of the local and nearby communities is the fact that dozens of volunteers are paid in “volunteer hours” to work at the Field Days each year. They run bars, serve food, clean toilets, and do plenty of other jobs to make the event happen each year and in term, receive payment to a community club of their choice. Hardworking volunteers logged 270 hours last year, giving $4050 back into the community. Newdegate Machinery Field Days president Ashley McDonald said a raft of improvements had been made around the grounds during the past year, funded by the Field Days itself. Sustaining the event and the local community is part and parcel of the Field Days, which Mr McDonald said was a “huge incentive” for the people — predominantly volunteers — who worked so hard to make the event happen each year. In line with the theme, a pivotal part of this year’s event is the Kulin Community Bank’s Recycled Art Sculpture Trail, which encourages entrants to repurpose landfill-destined waste to win their share of a $4500 prize pool. Up for grabs is $2500 for first prize, $1000 for the runner-up, and $1000 for the people’s choice award — with all sculptures put on show at this year’s Field Day. Entrants are urged to get creative and create an artistic, outdoor sculpture piece across a variety of styles, mediums and creative endeavours across all ages. The theme is also buoyed by the success of the town’s containers for change program, which was introduced to the community in September 2021. Embracing this year’s theme, those behind the Newdegate Containers for Change — which runs under the auspices of the Field Days — plan to sell 750ml, stainless steel water bottles at cost for $10 each. There will also be water stations located strategically around the Field Days site, allowing visitors to fill up their new, reusable water bottles or to bring their own along to refill when necessary. This year’s Dyson Jones Fashion Parade has its own theme of Around the World, with models from across WA taking to the stage across the two days of the event to showcase stunning designs and dancing skills. There will be more children’s activities than ever at this year’s event with bouncing castles, a bucking bull, an inflatable obstacle course, balloon twisting, face painting, an interactive reptile show, travelling animal farm and a show from Spare Parts Puppet Theatre. Children’s entertainment co-ordinator Fanny McDonald said there was a fresh line-up of children’s entertainment, with the headline act an award-winning adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel Blueback performed by Fremantle’s Spare Parts Puppet Theatre. Described by Spare Parts as “one of Winton’s most personal and quintessentially WA stories”, Blueback depicts the life of a young boy, Abel, and his mother, who embark on a mission to preserve the natural habitat of the place they call home. Mr McDonald said a “big portion” of the event’s budget and sponsorship was dedicated to children’s entertainment, in line with the organisers’ and local community’s desire to make sure the Field Days has something for everyone. The Battle of the Bands will return after a stellar debut in 2022, giving schools the opportunity to showcase their musical talent to those enjoying lunch at the Food Court at this year’s Field Days. Running the competition is passionate local Holly McDonald, who spearheaded the new competition after Great Southern Grammar students wowed the crowd with a knockout performance at the 2022 Field Days. More than 10,000 people flood through the gates of the Field Day each year, with 300 exhibitors attending to show their wares across the Family Interest Display Pavilion, The Boulevard, the Ram Shed, the Dyson Jones Wool Pavilion, and across the grounds. There are a range of competitions on offer each year, and arguably the hottest contest is the Display Awards to honour the best exhibitors at the Field Days. Categories include heavy industrial, light industrial, family interest, Merino stud, non-Merino stud, and the off-road, outdoor and camping display award. Adding to those, is the new release award, new innovation award, and the farm inventor award — 0to recognise some of the best new innovations and releases in agriculture. Other competitions include the State ewe hogget competition, the fleece competition, the Kulin Community Bank art competition and exhibition, the dog-jumping competition, and the Moylan Battle of the Bands. This year’s Newdegate Machinery Field Days will be held September 6 and 7. View the digital edition of the 2023 program here.