Record numbers expected for return of Tara festival

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Three-day celebration of camel racing and cultural diversity a major event on tourism calendar.
Action from the Tara camel races.

Tara’s celebration of camels and culture returns this year after its two-year gap between events extended to three because of the pandemic.

Australia’s “biggest camel party”, the Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Races, will be held on 29-31 July with thousands expected to make the trip and temporarily quadruple the size of the small community, about 300km west of Brisbane.

Interest in tickets has been high ahead of their release in March and organisers are expecting a crowd of more than 12,000 to sell out camping spots for the first time in the event’s 22-year history.

Festival President Kerry Kelly said the event had become a significant attraction on the Queensland tourism calendar.

"The people of our town set out to hold the festival as a way to put our town on the map and to put on an incredibly positive and fun weekend that would always be associated with Tara,” Ms Kelly said.

“Now, 22 years on, we've got a festival that's one of the significant events on the Queensland tourism calendar and it's all still run by the passionate team of locals who love and are proud of Tara."

The program includes an unconventional mix of professional camel racing and colourful entertainment from international cultures by the trackside.

The mix of entertainment and a rise in demand for Queensland camping holidays were identified as reasons for a 60% growth in attendance at its previous event.

“Tara has a population of 2,300 and it's safe to say that every one of us is proud of what our little community has done in building this event,” Ms Kelly said.

“Twenty-two years on and Lou, our original volunteer camel race organiser and event founder, is still on the job bringing camels to Tara, but around the camels is an ever-growing party-like atmosphere, plus thousands of camping sites and the whole lot of it is about five times bigger than our resident population."

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