Melbourne Cup camel races a Gympie specialty
SOME of Gympie's most "famous" faces will be belting down the sandy straight at the Gympie Turf Club this afternoon in the local "bumpy" version of the Melbourne Cup.
The Melbourne Cup Camel Races are a Gympie specialty; unique to this region and watched with great interest by other turf clubs and nearby media interests.
Turf club president Spencer Slatter says he is expecting a huge crowd trackside from 10am when the gates open, as all marquees are booked out and all camels in the celebrity race "sold".
Compere for the day will be Alain Henderson, who is donating his services.
The day doubles as a major fundraising event for Little Haven Palliative Care, which holds a luncheon in The Pavilion for 250 - also booked out in advance.
The community organisation stands to make about $10,000 today - $6000 of that from camel sponsorship.
Little Haven spokeswoman Sue Manton said she was expecting a crowd of 250 at the luncheon alone.
The lunch will feature a Foxy Lady fashion parade, with many of Foxy Lady's clothing suppliers donating vouchers for their outfits, to be sold in a silent auction.
"It's very generous of the Turf Club to let us have this luncheon year in year out," Ms Manton said.
She said black and white were still popular colours among the fashion set and she was expecting to see plenty of fascinating hats.
Mr Slatter tipped orange as another trend-setting colour trackside today.
The first of six camel races today begins at 1pm, and the last race - the celebrity Calcutta - at 4.15pm, followed by the after-races party and entertainment by Col Noble from 5pm.
Hard to beat in the celebrity race will be dental darling and camel-racing champion Sue Topalov. Hoping to pip Sue at the post will be Merv Welsh on the Turf Club mount, new Gympie tourism boss Andrew Saunders, Renee Dawkins and Steve Clough.
Beyond the race track, most Gympie restaurants and hotels will host Melbourne Cup luncheons today from 10am.
- Melbourne Cup Camel Races at the Gympie Turf Club from 10am;
- Kingston House Impressions Restaurant Melbourne Cup luncheon;
- Gunabul Homestead luncheon from 10am;
- Empire Hotel luncheon;
- The Decks on Mary luncheon;
- Jockey Club Hotel Melbourne Cup luncheon.