Forty years ago, at Bassett Park, the first Bendemere Cup was held at the newly formed Roma Turf Club at the suggestion of the Wallumbilla community (the original race club in the Bendemere district) who wanted to establish a presence in the new club.
ROMA PICNIC RACES AND BLACK TIE BALL – March
Early autumn in the Maranoa is celebrated at Bassett Park in traditional bush racing style with a glamorous ball (gowns and tux), a glistening race day (hats, frocks and ties) and a glass or two of fine ale or sparkling bubbles.
EASTER IN THE COUNTRY – April (March)
The pinnacle of Roma’s event calendar is undoubtedly Easter in the Country. A five-day celebration of all things country, the festival has been running for over 40 years and is widely recognised as one of South West Queensland’s premier Easter events. The festival offers a range of activities for the thrill-seeker, the cultural buff, and for those that like to take things a little more leisurely. With live music, horse racing, rodeo, motocross, drag racing, markets, collector and hobbies fair, street parades and much, much more, there is something for everyone!
ROMA RUGBY RACE DAY – June
Combining two favourite Aussie sports – rugby and races. Where too much sport is never enough on a crisp winter’s afternoon in the country, rugby, then racing, then more rugby.
Old boys, young boys and some just right fellas take to the field inside the racetrack and between the races (no horses are harmed in staging this event) to showcase western rugby prowess and have a punt in the bookies ring during half time. Live music, live heating and lively patrons make for a cracker day in Roma at Bassett Park.
FOOTY AND FILLIES RACE DAY – July
A family day organised by the local school with games, adventure playgrounds, sausage sizzles, junior rugby and live music. With all the usual stuff for the big people while the kids are entertained. The final of the Roads to Roma series and their first Country Winter Racing carnival with some bonuses and prize money to keep country racing in the sporting mix in Queensland.
FOOD AND FIRE FESTIVAL – August
Food and Fire Festival celebrates the multicultural diversity of the Maranoa Region; the event includes farmers’ markets, food stalls, roving performers, live entertainment, fireworks, animal rides, and much more.
The festival was created in 2008 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Great Fire of 1908 which blazed for a phenomenal 45 days after being accidently ignited during the drilling of a gas well on Hospital Hill, Roma. The biennial festival celebrates the long and prosperous oil and gas industry in the area which is still prominent today.
ROMA CUP – November
The Roma Cup is Western Queensland’s largest and most glamorous race meeting. Attracting around 10000 punters from around the state, the race meeting and the weekend festivities make it the best weekend that can be had in the bush.
The weekend kicks off Friday evening with the Calcutta in town. Saturday race day starts around 11am and is an action-packed day of racing, fashion and socialising. After the races, live music at an after-party that finishes in the wee hours of Sunday morning and a recovery breakfast at Bassett Park sends travellers on their way with a full stomach and some spectacular memories.
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