RECORD crowds, juicy oranges and the sound of 60s rock 'n' roll music made Bingara's 'Happy Days' Orange Festival the place at the weekend.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall was pleased to provide a $5,000 grant from the state government to help the event 'swing on'.
Mr Marshall used Bingara Central School's annual orange picking event last Friday to announce the grant which was used by Gwydir Shire Council to pay for the exciting entertainment over the three days.
"Bingara as a community should be proud of the show it put on.
"The Bingara Happy Days and Orange Festival is one of the highlights on the region's calendar and with drought biting the region's businesses hard this year I was thrilled to help secure some sponsorship for this year's event.
"This festival started out as a means of commemorating the local lives lost during both World Wars, and while that tradition has continued through the carefully cultivated orange trees in Finch Street, it has now transformed into a celebration of the Gwydir's history and culture.
"Around 5,200 people rocked and rolled their way into Bingara over the weekend booking out hotels, eating at pubs and cafes and visiting attractions like the spectacular Roxy Theatre.
"Everyone is doing it tough this year and the Happy Days Festival really gave families the opportunity to leave the farm for a day, catch up with friends and enjoy the community spirit the Gwydir Valley is well known for.
"What I think is special about the Orange Festival is it brings generations of the community together, from the children of Bingara Central School who protect the orange tress until they are ready to be picked to the their grandparents who get to relive the glory days of the 1950s and 60s."
Gwydir Shire Council's Marketing and Promotions Leader Georgia Standerwick said council had been working hard to ensure the orange trees were spared the effects of the drought.
"With the drought putting financial strain on many businesses this year's festival has provided a much needed economic boost for many local operators," Ms Standerwick said.
"Over the weekend we saw and additional $650,000 flow into the economy which shows visitors did make the most of the three days, choosing to stay the duration instead of coming for one day and leaving.
"The festival was also a great opportunity to promote the shire as a camper van friendly community with more than 60 vans parking up at the Showground with the overflow staying at our wonderful caravan park."