Saturday, June 22, 2024

The heart and soul of Casino on parade and why we love it

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What is it about a street parade?

In a time of AI, social media influencers and fast news, a street parade seems quaint, and old-fashioned representing something from the past.

Maybe that’s part of its appeal. Whatever it is, the Beef Week Street Parade draws a massive crowd into the CBD.

People line Walker Street, sitting on hay bales or leaning over the barrier fence for a better view of the floats parading by.

This is the first year the street parade has been named in honour of Brenda Armfield.

For decades Brenda has spruiked Beef Week sitting in her lime green Moke and using her loud hailer to praise Casino and Beef Week.

Parents bring their children to town to see Brenda and to share their own memories of seeing the balloon-adorned Moke and hearing Brenda shout, “Oi Oi Oi.”

The exuberant display of Brenda in the Moke led the march on Saturday, May 25 in the Brenda Armfield Street Parade. There were lots of floats, lots of energy and plenty of smiles as the parade rolled down the street.

It’s all about the smiles for Beef Week president Brody Lish who has been coming to the parade since he was four years old.

“The parade is iconic,” he said.

“The smiles on the children’s faces are priceless. That’s what it is all about.”

Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow loves the parade and said toddlers to 96 year olds joined. Robert was spotted helping push a trishaw through the sawdust on the road.

It was all part of the fun. A photographer from Getty Images was in Casino saying he had been wanting to come to Beef Week for years.

The parade would not have disappointed him. It’s eternally country, and it’s uniquely Casino.

People from preschools, schools, sports clubs, tractor shops, emergency services came with big machines, low loaders and dressed up in colourful costumes for this year’s Retro Rewind theme. There were a lot of fluro vests and fluro socks.

Carren Muhle from Rainbow Station Early Education Centre was busy getting their float ready for the parade.

“It’s touching to have the community brought together,” she said.

St Mary’s Primary School principal John O’Brien wore an 80s inspired outfit and with the students sang 80s hits Poison (Alice Cooper) and Girls Just Want to Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper) as they walked behind a truck where a gorilla(!) played drums.

Grafton’s Jacaranda Festival team brought their float adorned with lavender flowers. The King and Queen and entrants sat and waved from the float.

The Junior Jacaranda Princess Millie Llyod said a street parade brings the community together. The Grafton Street Parade is celebrating its 90th anniversary later this year.

Raine Baker visiting from Varsity at the Gold Coast said she wished there were more parades.

“It brings out the Mums and Dads and grandparents – it’s a wonderful way to bring everyone together,” she said.

Jackie Hobbins from New Zealand sat in the front row on a hay bale so she could see everything. Chris Hobbins said he’d never been to the Casino Street parade before.

It was Brenda who summarised what the parade means to the beef town.

“It is the heart and soul of Casino,” she said.

Brenda said this quietly but no doubt she’d like to shout it from her loud hailer across the rooftops of the town she loves.

Below are some photos from the 2024 Beef Week Brenda Armfield Street Parade in Casino.

See the whole gallery at indyNR.com.

This article appeared on indyNR.com on 26 May 2024.

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