READY TO GO: Action from the 2013 Brooms Beach Boat Races at the Brooms Head Family Fun Day at the Brooms Head Beach Reserve.
READY TO GO: Action from the 2013 Brooms Beach Boat Races at the Brooms Head Family Fun Day at the Brooms Head Beach Reserve.

Start the new year with a smile

BROOMS Head is the place to be on New Year's Day - just as it has been for the past 100 years.

Event organiser Laurie Fitzpatrick said the beach had been the stomping ground for a centenary of new year celebrations.

And this year will be no different, with crowds of epic proportions expected to take to the beach for a day of old-fashioned fun.

"There's been something happening on Brooms Head Beach for New Year's Day for over 100 years," Mr Fitzpatrick said.

"The Scottish army men, based in Maclean, apparently used to march out to Brooms Head over the holiday period and camp out for their training," he said.

"From then there's been horse races, motorbike races and many forms of gatherings over the years."

The Brooms Head Family Fun Day has been in its present format for about 30 years and centres itself on community involvement.

Mr Fitzpatrick is also the secretary of Maclean Lions Club, which runs the day.

The Lions Club asks for donations at the gate but the rest of the day is cost-free, making it the perfect venue for New Year's Day celebrations.

The event is run in collaboration with WIRES, with volunteers running the market day.

The Lower Clarence Rugby League Club guys and girls will be cooking up a storm on the barbecue, so there'll be plenty of goodies for the crowd.

The Gulmarrad Bush Fire Brigade will also be running a beachside bar.

"We used to run it all ourselves within the Lions Club," Mr Fitzpatrick said.

"But it just got so big that we decided to share it around. It's giving these other community organisations a slice of the pie.

"It really has become an important community event."

There's a legion of races and activities for the whole family, ranging from sprints, the family relay, beach "boat" races, tug-of-war and the tossing of the broom head.

"We made up some 'boats' out of plastic signs and cable tied them together to make a heap of boats for the beach boat races," Mr Fitzpatrick said.

"We cut handles into them so the kids stand inside the "boats", which have no bottom, and run like buggery."

Mr Fitzpatrick said local businesses had been very supportive of the event.

"They've been quite happy to help out," he said.

"We have $1400 of prizes to give away."

Mr Fitzpatrick said the event drew an extra 500 people to Brooms Head on the day, plus all the people who stayed at the caravan park over the festive season.

"The caravan park is always full to the point of overflowing, so there are always plenty of people at the family fun day," he said.

A late high tide means events will run later than usual, but there'll still be plenty on from 9am. Events will start about 11.30am.



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