By Rebecca Peppiatt
IT’S that time of year again when competitive dads and adrenaline junkie kids collide with some good old fashioned fun and community spirit.
The annual Hills Billy Cart Festival returns to Mount Helena on October 31 after a COVID-induced hiatus last year meaning locals are itching to get off and racing.
“It’s such a community-building event,” organiser John Bell said.
“It’s been so heartwarming to see the kids and the parents doing stuff together and the locals getting behind it all.”
Everyone is invited to create a billy cart and enter it into the race, which takes place on Evans Street before ending in Pioneer Park and coinciding with the Mount Helena Whim Festival.
However, possible only thanks to a team of hard working volunteers, the event is struggling with exorbitant insurance costs which have jumped from $2000 pre-COVID to nearly $8000.
Despite some community, state and local government grants, the event does not charge an entry fee and so sponsors are desperately needed.
“It’s been extremely financially challenging,” said Mr Bell.
“Unless we can come up with a solution to it, the event will not be sustainable long term.”
For now, though, event organisers are working hard to ensure everyone has fun on the day, including those with disabilities.
“It’s always been an idea of mine, to make a cart for someone who is not able-bodied to enjoy,” committee member Chip Marsh said.
“We finally found the person who had the time and the knowledge to make a cart where the less able-bodied person can sit in the front and the driver sits behind.”
Rosie, from Glen Forrest, was lucky enough to test it out last weekend in Gingin at the town’s 150th celebrations and now the cart, called Double Trouble, is offered to less able-bodied people to use in the event.
See www.hillsbillycartsinc.com for more.