ACCOMMODATION houses have hung out the no vacancy signs, pubs are pumping and a make-shift tent-city has been set up in Julia Creek as the 2018 Dirt ‘n Dust festival kicks off today.
The population of the North-West town as swollen more than four- fold as triathletes and revelers swarm the town for its largest annual event.
Highlights of the 2018 festival include both the junior and senior triathlon, bog snorkeling contest, concerts featuring Townsville band King Social, the PBR bull-ride and a day at the races.
McKinley Shire Council Mayor Belinda Murphy said the event ‘put Julia Creek on the map.’
“We get about 3000 people in town over the weekend and just under 300 compete,” Cr Murphy said.
“The weekend as a whole is one of the biggest in the North-West, along with the Cloncurry Muster and Mount Isa Rodeo.
“It’s not just the economic impact of it, which is extremely important as the financial injection into the town is just amazing, but it’s also a chance to showcase our town and be proud of our community and what we do and achieve.
“It’s good for the region as well, as most people drive here.”
Cr Murphy said previous economic impact studies showed the event injected over $1.5 million int the Queensland economy, with about $600,000 of that staying local.
Gravel and Grace boutique clothing store is among the businesses benefiting from the influx of visitors to town.
Owner Amanda Stevens enlisted the help of her sister Tania Curr to help out over the busy period.
Ms Curr said the event was an opportunity to showcase good old fashion country hospitality.
“It’s a fairly important event for the town, from a business perspective but also as a community, that we have great products and services people might not expect,” Ms Curr said.
“We have a fantastic clothes shop, great gift shops. The community has so much to give and we all get involved, there is a real camaraderie in the area which is great.”
Mark Isaacson has traveled to Juila Creek from Townsville to sell his home-made stock whips.
He was enjoying meeting locals and visitors at his stall at the Puma Service Station today.
Mr Isaacson said he had been making the whips for four-five years and enjoyed the festive feel of country towns when large events were held.