IT was another day of good old-fashioned fun at this year's Act-Belong-Commit Darkan Sheepfest last Saturday despite soaring temperatures.
With temperatures hitting close to 40 degrees and a loss of power the Darkan community showed they can still hold a good old country show.
Close to 1800 people turned up at the Darkan Oval to celebrate the third running of the Sheepfest and it was heralded as the biggest and best Sheepfest yet by the organising committee.
The Sheepfest was an idea born from an Enterprising Communities workshop, where community members brainstormed ideas on how to promote and grow the West Arthur Shire.
Given the long history of sheep and wool within the shire and the two commodities being the mainstay of the local economy, it was decided that whatever was run by the community should pay homage to these industries.
Once again all ages were catered for at this year's event with a giant waterslide (which was definitely in demand) - with free rides - keeping the kids entertained and cool all day, while stalls displayed their wares and a fashion parade ran twice during the day for the adults.
Four key events were also held, the Merino ewe hogget competition, Sport Shear and wool handling competitions, Young Farmers Challenge and the Farm Boot Foot Race. (See report in Farm Weekly Section 1 on pages 27).
Also this year the Sheepfest played host to a shearers and shed staff reunion, which was well attended and one of those who did attend was 93-year-old Colin 'Speedy' Harrington.
A simple morning smoko was all that was needed for them to gather around and swap a few short (or tall) stories, before they headed off to enjoy the rest of the show.
There was also the Best Pet Sheep competition which drew a crowd and plenty of entries.
Each year, the Sheepfest committee is keen to raise awareness and promote mental health initiatives, this year it chose the Blue Tree Project.
Jayden White, prior to taking his own life, painted a blue tree on his family farm as a practical joke to see how long it would take his dad to notice.
Blue trees are now a unique symbol to help start conversations about mental health and at this year's Sheepfest there was a special big blue netball tree, called TAMs Tree, that was made in memory of 20-year-old Tamia Schinzig, by her twin brother Adam.
TAMs Tree - Talk About Mental Health was displayed and used all day and will now be permanently installed in Darkan thanks to CGS Engineers, Kojonup and Tam's family.
Not only was awareness of the Blue Tree Project raised at the event, it also raised money for the cause with a live auction of meat trays from Butchers Hook and Buckingham Meats, as well as a shearing painting by Jane Campbell raising more than $1400 for the Blue Tree Project.
A further $400 for Blaze Aid in support of our local WA Fencing Farmers with the sale of a first aid kit supplied by Darkan St John Ambulance.
The day ended with the Hillman Farm Skydivers Jump Blue for Sheepfest.
Fifteen very skilled and brave skydivers all sailed down to the Darkan oval in array of bright blue streamers, flags and parachutes and given the wind conditions and the technical difficulty it was a huge effort.
Darkan Sheepfest committee chairwoman Karen Prowse said the organisers were extremely pleased with the crowd that turned up for this year's Sheepfest given the conditions of the day.
"The crowd size was similar to last year and given the trying conditions of the day it was above expectations," Ms Prowse said.
"We had a lot of positive feedback on the day about how well it was set up and the amount of activities and entertainment available.
"Everyone seen to have a really good day despite the warm weather.
"It was also pleasing to see we had people attend the event from further afield including Boyanup and Boyup Brook because they had heard about it and thought they would come across for a look.
"I would like to thank all the sponsors without them it wouldn't happen and they enable us to put on this community event that doesn't cost much for families to attend.
"Our sponsors have been unbelievable and we are really appreciative of their commitment to our vision of running a new country show."