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Manfeild, CD Field Days support buses - Gibson

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

An annual rural showcase at Manfeild that delivers as Manawatu’s biggest crowd draw and revenue-spinner has raised thought from the host and organiser about how city support might increase.

Central Districts Field Days, this year spanning March 19-21, creates an impressively-sized temporary town that becomes a primary agribusiness focus for many thousands of attendees poring over millions of dollars’ worth of exhibits spread around more than 600 stands.

This national attraction also serves as a powerful reminder of Manawatu’s status as a key agriculture hub.

Statistics showing 68 percent of exhibitors and 48 percent of attendees coming from outside the host region reflects what an economic powerhouse it is.

The added direct expenditure from a crowd count that is expected to exceed 28,000 this year totalled more than $1.2 million in 2019 - while event sales conservatively generated a total revenue in excess of $44m.

"This event has been with us since 1993 and has become of huge importance to the Manawatu and our communities, with more than Feilding benefiting," says Manfeild chief executive Kathy Gibson.

"I would like to think Palmerston North also fully appreciates the tangible economic impact that all large events held at Manfeild delivers to their businesses.

"The city’s accommodation providers enjoy the lion’s share of customers for upwards of eight days, and the spend with restaurants, bars and cafes and other businesses there is significant."

Field Days reinforces Manfeild’s flexibility, including being able to meet significant car-parking requirements.

As much the event enjoys a well-considered, robust traffic management plan, congestion often caused delays outside the venue during peak periods.

Reconsidering the merits of local body engagement in offering a free bus service to attendees, modelled on one organisers of the annual Fieldays at Mystery Creek now employ seems timely, Mrs Gibson suggests.

Working in partnership with Waikato Regional Council, the Feildays park and ride formula gives ticket holders a park in a secure location in Hamilton and a regular service that dropped them right at the gate.

"It’s a great example of forward thinking that I believe should be top of mind for major events at Manfeild. I hope Palmerston North City Council will give the idea consideration for the betterment of traffic flow with our event."

The proposal has enthusiastic support from the organiser, Stuff Events.

"We support working with Manfeild and further reducing impact on the local residents and businesses in terms of traffic management around the event," says events and sponsorship director David Blackwell.

"We are keen to do anything we can to enhance the visitor experience and make people’s lives easier to get in and out of the event."

Manfeild cements as the best choice not just because of its spaciousness but also because of Manfeild Park Trust’s willingness to deliver improvements that meet the ongoing evolution of this must-see occasion, the organiser adds.

A 2018 update of roading within the main show precinct - the area commonly known as the Manfeild back track - has proven a project of mutual benefit, the weather-proof surfaces making for a more comfortable experience for pedestrians and service traffic.

The event impinges into an area being prepared to become the home training ground for the National Driver Training Centre, however continuing facility updates and the show’s requirements have been sympathetic.

The event tradition of engendering and showcasing latest trends and developments in farm-side innovation, agribusiness and agri tech continues this year with the Forestry Hub, a collaboration of 15 different forestry sector involvers offering a unique window into this industry, through seminars and hands-on demonstrations, some offering public interaction.

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