WAFarmers’ new tent hoped to blow away crowds at field days

Countryman
WAFarmers president John Hassell with the new tent.
Camera IconWAFarmers president John Hassell with the new tent. Credit: Countryman

It looks like a bouncing castle crossed with a farming-themed igloo, but WAFarmers staff hope the organisation’s new inflatable tent will blow away crowds at this year’s field days.

The square structure stands more than 2.5 metres tall and features pictures of canola, cattle, sheep, bees and wheat on the front entrance surrounding the entryway.

A hay bale background has been printed the remaining three sides, which WAFarmers chief executive Trevor Whittington joked looked “more like camouflage” because the digital printer wasn’t well-versed in recreating individual stands of straw.

The interesting structure had a soft debut at the WAFarmers Annual Forum at Muresk Institute last month but will put on full display at this year’s Mingenew, Dowerin and Newdegate field days.

Mr Whittington the $4000 purchase was a “good investment” born out of a desire to save cash and protect both staff and people popping in to say hi from the elements during the normally-chilly field days season in August and September.

“With the growing cost of marquees at field days and the need to stay out of the wind and the rain we went on a search for a alternatives to the traditional tents,” he said.

“At first we thought we would buy our own marquee but quickly lost interest when we worked out how much effort went into erecting them and worst the legal responsibility if it blew down on someone.

“The next option was the trailer on wheels but they were expensive and were basically a caravan in disguise.

“A permanent shed was dismissed as a option because of the cost and the fact we go to three different field days, plus other events.”

WAFarmers' new inflatable tent.
Camera IconWAFarmers' new inflatable tent. Credit: Trevor Whittington

Mr Whittington said the organisation finally settled on a blow up tent.

“At first we thought they were gimmics or just big bouncy castles,” he said.

“We discovered the military use them as big field hospitals and hangars for aircraft as big as B52s.

“The best bit was we could put on our own images which worked a treat for the front.”

Mr Whittington said the blow up tent would be “on trial” at this year’s Mingenew, Dowerin and Newdegate field days.

“The only negative is they can move in the wind so need to be tied down with a few star pickets which have to be strategically positioned when you let it down,” he joked.

WA’s agricultural field days season will kick off with Mingenew Midwest Expo on August 11 and 12.

Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days is August 25 and 26, and Newdegate Machinery Field Days is September 1 and 2.

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