Preparations for the iconic Roma Picnic Races are entering the final straight with the raceday set for Saturday March 30.
The Roma Picnics have been one of western Queensland's best loved race meetings since 1901 and this year the black tie ball, five race program, calcutta, fashions of the field and afternoon tea are set to attract hundreds of racegoers.
A massive highlight will be Brisbane's Hamilton Band who are heading west to perform at the sold-out Black Toyota Black Tie Ball on Friday March 29 and the Roma Picnic Races the following day.
Hamilton Band's lead singer Lai Utovou took home $100,000 in prize money when he won Channel 7's reality TV competition All Together Now in November with a fabulous rendition of Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk.
Also not to be missed will be the famed Carlton Schooner Suit Races which see ladies and gents don life sized schooner suits for a fun filled dash down the home straight. Those who finish first with the required amount of beer in their cup will take home 10 free cartons from Carlton!
Fashion stakes high
Regulars to the Roma Picnic Races will know the stakes are high when it comes to fashion at this iconic bush race meeting.
And 2019 will be no different with more than $8000 in prizes up for grabs in the Warners Fine Jewellery Fashions of the Field.
Flashback to 2018: 2018 Roma Picnics Fashions on the Field Gallery
This year the categories have been reduced to just four - with the same tempting prize pool now spread across Contemporary Lady, the Alex Taylor Classic Lady, Couples and Best Headwear.
Fashions of the Field coordinator Amy Webb said some of the highlight prizes included two return flights to Brisbane and a View Hotel Urban Escape Package for the winner of the Contemporary Lady.
"Another stunning prize is the pearl bracelet donated by the Taylor family for the highly sought after Alex Taylor Classic Lady," Mrs Webb said.
"The winner of that will also receive a View Hotel Urban Escape Package.
"We've also got holiday packages to the coast, jewellery and fashion vouchers valued at over $3000 and many prizes generously donated by local businesses.
"We'd like to thank all our amazing sponsors - they come back year after year to support us and we wouldn't be able to run this event without them.
Participants will be asked to nominate on arrival with the finals set to start before 3pm.
Special twist for Art & Tea
Afternoon Tea has been a special institution at the Roma Picnic Races for decades but in more recent years, the committee has sought to add an extra incentive for guests to get trackside.
The CJ Advisory Art & Tea seeks to showcase rural artisans and this year the committee is delighted to have talented Roma artists Michelle Clout and Loretta Thomas exhibiting.
Roma's Anne Galloway will also be on hand with copies of Cattlemen in Pearls - a remarkable tribute to 28 women in Australia's beef industry.
Published by Anne and Ian Galloway, the book has been a massive success since its launch last year.
Art & Tea coordinator Katie Wells said showcasing local talent was a wonderful addition to the race day.
"It's a real tradition to head over to the Wool Court following Fashions of the Field and just enjoy some delicious afternoon tea with some amazing art around you," she said.
"We are so privileged to have these ladies coming along with their art - in all forms."
Don't forget the horses!
The Roma Picnics will race for just shy of $70,000 in prize money across five races.
President Scott Arthur said the committee had worked hard to increase the prize money in recent years and were proud to contribute to the local racing economy.
This year the Roma Picnics have introduced another incentive for local trainers with the Synergy Accountants Trainer of the Day for the most successful trainer on the day.
They'll receive a trophy and a Commerce Roma gift card valued at $500.
Patrons can go online to buy discounted gate tickets up until midnight on Tuesday. Tickets online cost $20 and entry at the gate will be $25.
For more information and tickets visit www.romaraces.org.au