The 24th annual Newcastle Hunter Transport Awareness Day rolls into Maitland Showground on Sunday, October 28.
The day is designed as a fun, family-orientated day where the community and the transport industry come together to celebrate and appreciate the contribution the industry makes to the local community and economy.
A jam-packed schedule of events is planned, featuring the traditional convoy of over 200 big rigs which will make their way up from Sandgate market from 8.30am for a grand 9.30am entrance at Maitland Showground.
“We encourage family and friends to take up a safe spot along the way with banners and flags to support the trucks and truck drivers of this great country we live in,” Leonnie Carter, secretary of the Newcastle Hunter Transport Awareness Group, which organises the day, said.
“Now in it’s 24th year, the convoy has become a great tradition. Local owner/operator Joey Pace, from Pace Bulk Haulage at Tomago, won the charity auction to be the lead truck and Ronald McDonald will be riding with him in the cab.”
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All the trucks will be shined up and vying for the title of best rig which will be presented at the end of the day, along with 30 other prizes donated by members of the Hunter transport industry.
“We’ll also be honouring two legends of the local industry who have given so much,” Ms Carter said.
“Paul “Harro” Harrison was the founding member of the Road Transport Awareness Group, and John “Gouldie” Gould, an owner/operator from a very young age, were much-loved members of the trucking fraternity and we’ll be paying our respects.”
Organisers have a great line-up of food and entertainment planned.
“O’Neil’s Heavy Haulage and Salvage are putting on a free breakfast for the drivers down at Sandgate and will be running the barbecue at the showground through the day,” Ms Carter said.
“Beresfield craft brewery Maltnhops will be selling beer and we’ll have a range of food trucks providing a range of food and beverages sure to appeal to all tastes.”
The kids don’t miss out either. Superheros Catboy, Owlett and Gekko, from PJ Masks, will be present at 11am, 12 noon and 1pm for fun and photos. There’s also free Megamania Kids Zone activities available all day.
Local singer, Christie James, who is heading to Nashville soon to record her third album, headlines the music from 12 noon, supported by a number of local up-and-coming acts from the National Music Academy through the afternoon.
Presentation of prizes and the honouring of legends begins at 2pm and the day concludes at 4pm.
The Newcastle Hunter Transport Awareness Day also has a serious side – highlighting the importance of road transport in not only the Hunter, but Australia wide.
“Trucking keeps Australia moving and the economy strong,” Ms Carter said. “It’s a major employer in the Hunter, and it’s a professional job. When drivers go to work, the road becomes their workplace.
“The day is about educating the younger generation about the opportunities in the industry. We can’t get enough drivers and we want to encourage young people into it.
“The day is also about safety and educating the public about how to behave on the road around big rigs. We encourage families to get on board the trucks on the day.
“Boral will be promoting their “blind spot” campaign and there’s going to be a motorbike and bicycle to check out your driving blind spots.”