DON’T worry about Ho, Ho, Ho, for the Darkan community this year’s Christmas is all about Hay, Hay, Hay.
At this time of year the locals rename the Coalfields Highway, which runs from Arthur River to Bunbury, the ‘Hayfields Highway’ with paddocks along the road filled with home-made Christmas decorations of a rural kind.
Hay rolls are popular as the base of most decorations, but there are also tyres, old boomspray tanks, combines, motorbikes and old utes and tractors that have all been turned into festive paddock fillers with many featuring Santa taking part in a range of farming activities.
The idea for a Hayfields Highway came to Geraldine King when she and her husband John were driving to the Eastern States across the Nullarbor in the lead up to Christmas three years ago.
“We came to Kimba in South Australia and they had all these Christmas decorations adorning the town and I really liked the look of it and thought that is something Darkan could do,” Mrs King said.
“The next year the West Arthur Shire held an Enterprising Communities workshop and locals were asked to bring along ideas that might add something to the community or bring people to the town.
“I raised the idea about decorating the town at Christmas time and it was favourably received so that year we set up decorations that consisted of things like cut-out animals dressed for Christmas and Father Christmas on an old ute being pulled along by kangaroos and so on.
“We put the word out and asked people whose farms were on the highway to get on board and there was a great response.
“This is the second year we have done it now and we have had a lot more people getting involved and there have been some very creative decorations made using all sorts of old farming equipment that you would find lying around on most farms in WA.“
Mrs King said the pleasing thing for locals was the amount of people that were stopping along the way and getting out of their vehicles to take photos.
“There are a lot of travellers with caravans that use the road and you often see them pulled up on the side of the road taking photos or stopped in town and having a look around,” she said.
“Anything you can do these days to get people to stop in small communities and maybe buy at the local shops or support the town is a good thing and hopefully things like this and the Darkan Sheepfest, which is on again in February, is putting Darkan on the map.”
Mrs King said they hoped to grow the Hayfields Highway concept in the future and there is even talk of making it a competition with a prize for the best or most original display.
Farm Weekly would like to wish all its readers a safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.