The Cane Fire Tours continue to burn bright as one of the must-see events during the recent annual Childers Festival.
This year the tours, which showcase the sugar industry in and around Childers, again attracted a capacity crowd of 300 over two nights.
It also marked the first occasion Council had stepped back from hands on running of the event and handed the organisation to Childers Rotary Club members.
President Geoff Fay said the club had successfully negotiated with Council to take over responsibility for organising the event.
“Normally Rotary partners with Council and provides the end-of-tour barbecue dinner for participants,” he said.
“But the prospect of Rotary handling the event was raised with Council early this year and we were able to provide assurances the club had the resources to safely and effectively run the Cane Fire Tours,” he said.
“The Isis Central Sugar Mill management and its staff play such an incredibly important role in bringing this spectacle to people interested in seeing just how the sugar industry works.
“They provide us with a workable itinerary, allocate the staff, the venues, machinery, commentary and ultimately the fields where part of a cane crop is burned.”
A rare insight into sugar industry
Geoff said that even though people in the Bundaberg Region are surrounded by the sugar industry, many have very little insight into just how the crop ends up arriving as crystals in the household sugar bowl.
“Our Club has great members, some of who are associated with the industry and who can act as commentators on the buses for the benefit of tour participants,” he said.
“We have a modest membership and it is quite a task to ensure we have risk assessments, insurances, buses booked, food ordered and the required personnel to ensure the tours go without a hitch.”
Geoff said the Council Events team were extremely helpful in seeing the tours transitioned seamlessly to the control of Childers Rotary.
“The support from Coast & Country Buses, Childers IGA and Biggenden Meatworks allowed our club to maximise the funds we were able to raise this year. This event certainly ranks as our major fund raiser,” he said.
“The aim of the tours is always to leave participants better informed about a major local industry, ensure they are delighted with the variety involved in the event and totally satisfied with the catering provided in conclusion.”
Geoff said the funds raised are targeted towards supporting local and international Rotary projects.
“We were happy to provide a group of PCYC Emergency Services Cadets from Biggenden with a donation of $500 when they attended as tour participants,” he said.
“It was just a way of assisting the Cadets in meeting the cost of an educational tour.”
Geoff said the 2022 Childers Festival had again been an outstanding event.
“It provides not only the centrepiece Festival on the Sunday but a broad range of activities during Festival week that showcases the diversity of our community.”