A wonderful culture of volunteering

A wonderful culture of volunteering

Events
McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo board member Helen Blake is looking forward to this year's event, saying there is something in every corner for visitors to see.

McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo board member Helen Blake is looking forward to this year's event, saying there is something in every corner for visitors to see.

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AS a youngster growing up in Geraldton Helen Blake was always aware of the McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo.

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AS a youngster growing up in Geraldton Helen Blake was always aware of the McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo.

"I knew about Expo and my dad used to come and see the rams, but I didn't really know anything about the running of the event, I only knew from an outsider's point of view - it's quite a different world on the inside," Ms Blake said.

And a lot of that is because she is now on the Expo board that is responsible for staging the annual event that is a highlight of the Mid West calendar.

This is Ms Blake's third year on the board, but her fifth working behind the scenes, originally getting involved when at the helm of the catering committee.

"I was part of the hockey club and every club that gets funds from Expo has to provide a representative to the catering meeting," she said.

"It was my turn to be the rep for the hockey club on the catering committee and then I had a few little kids and wasn't working full-time anymore and it was my turn to step up and have a go."

After the Expo was restructured, as part of a plan to make the event more professional, Ms Blake ended up on the main Expo board - a role she enjoys.

"I have a greater understanding of how much investment, how much community support and how so many businesses really support us," Ms Blake said.

"It's amazing to see how much so many businesses continue to invest.

"Because of this I feel like it is our duty to put in a really big effort and make the event as professional as we can for all these businesses - from the ones that have a huge investment through to someone who has a small stall."

Ms Blake said the importance of Expo could never be downplayed for the Mingenew community.

"Mingenew has got a wonderful culture of volunteering," she said.

"I feel that we are always catering or putting on something, so we are very much a can-do community, but Expo is on a broader level."

She said everyone recognised it as the main event for the community and as a result everyone pitched in to make things happen - and that they were always on the lookout for ideas to streamline the show and make it even better.

Planning for the next Expo will get underway as soon as this year's event wraps up.

"We try to catch all that feedback when it is fresh from everyone and collate it, so it is ongoing," Ms Blake said.

"When we collect ideas, sometimes it is too late for that year, so we put it into planning for the next year."

And it appears the excitement and anticipation is anything but waning for this dedicated volunteer.

"I just love that first morning," Ms Blake said.

"It is a bit like a sports carnival when you are a little kid, I love when I am driving into town, it is usually about 5am on the first day and the early visitors are coming in and the final set-ups are being done.

"It's that sense of anticipation.

"It's just nice to feel part of something bigger - that whole act, belong, commit theory is so true.

"Everyone is keen to help, you get there and people will come out of the woodwork to help out and everything just happens."

While official duties are expected to keep Ms Blake busy over the two days, she was looking forward to getting around to a few things, including the Young Farmers Competition in the Elders Livestock Arena and the Night Markets that will be in the Home and Living Pavilion.

"There is something going on in every corner and the Night Markets this year will be a new attraction, combining our bar and food areas into the one main hub, as we try to create a warm atmosphere at night time," she said.

"And most of our volunteers are busy working during the day, so it will be nice for them to have an opportunity to have a look at the stalls, network and relax at night."

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