MardiGrass joint venture

Nimbins conservative Agriculture and Industry Society and the promoters of the villages annual hemp festival make odd bedfellows.

But for this years MardiGrass, the two disparate groups are coming together for the benefit of the whole village.

As custodian of the showground, the A&I Society has been struggling for funding to maintain the grounds and buildings.

So for the first time, the society plans to open the showground for camping and parking for MardiGrass (May 3 and 4) so it can earn hard cash for the upkeep.

Around 320 camp sites will be made available so festival goers can stay in the village the whole weekend.

Its just great. Theyve never ever before opened the grounds for the festival weekend, festival spokesman Michael Balderstone said. The A&I dont get the government grants they used to get and urgently need funds to maintain the place. They can also help minimise the impact of so many visitors to the village over the big weekend.

Society vice president Neville Plush, Nimbins former local policeman, told The Echo grants and other sources of funding for the society were getting harder and harder to come by.

This way we can make visitors pay so were not hitting up the locals for money all the time, with raffles at the pub or club, and we can give them a breather, Mr Plush said.

Every Wednesday society volunteers work on the grounds upkeep, mowing, weeding, painting or knocking a nail or two in Mr Plush said,

adding that it allowed the showground to be used for camping and parking during MardiGrass would also alleviate problems up town with congestion.

And although he and the society doesnt agree with any push to legalise pot the law-reform rally and festival advocates the decriminilisation of marijuana he can see the benefits of supporting the festival, which in turn supports local emergency services.

The festivals been going for years now and it does bring money into the town, he said.

As a policeman for 31 years, Mr Plush said he had seen the damage to individuals and society by the excessive use of alcohol and drugs and he would prefer to see more education to address the issue, especially among young people.

Campsite fees for the weekend are $20 per head with toilets and showers. For bookings and information phone Michael on 6689 1842.

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