We awoke on Friday to another glorious sunny Hastings day, albeit a little cooler overnight. A climb up in the grand-stand gave us a glorious view over all the assembled campervans and buses, sprinkled here and there with a few caravans. There are several food stalls on site, selling freshly brewed coffee, fresh baked bread, Chinese takeaways and ice-cream. Under the grand stand there were assorted trade displays relating to camping. Everything from satellite dishes, solar panels, batteries and generators. Robin spent a happy hour or so checking out all this blokey stuff.
Everyone gathered in the marquee for the official opening of the 54th National Rally. The banner bearers from different areas assembled outside and were led into the hall by a group of young musicians from the local college.
The official party entered the stage, and the convenor then spoke of the challenges of organising an event that attracts such a large number of people. The Mayor of Hastings warmly welcomed us all to his city and the surrounding areas and wished us all a very happy weekend. Our Wellington contingent posed for photos, with a helpful photographer taking one picture after another with everyone's different cameras. Then it was back to the marquee for the AGM at 1:30pm. There had previously been a postal ballot for the executive positions, so that part of the meeting proceeded smoothly. There was a whole heap of General Business to get through, with the AGM finally finishing at 4:00pm.
The evening entertainment in the marquee was billed as “Evening of Country”. Backing band “Findeen Time” did a good job getting the feet tapping and then country singers Graeme McCardle and Roger Tibbs took turns at entertaining the crowd. Both are country singers but their styles are quite different. Roger Tibbs is a local man from our hometown and is particularly well known for his yodelling songs. The crowd was hushed when he sang his own composition about the Anzac Servicemen, it was a very moving and emotional song. The two singers ended the show with a joint version of “The Auctioneer”, which had the crowd roaring for more.