Every year in the small town of Casino, New South Wales, people come together to celebrate a culture that most of us here in the U.S. are familiar with. The Casino Beef Week is an agricultural fair that centers on all things country and cowboy. Right in the heart of cattle country, the week-long event provides visitors with a chance to see a side of Australia that most tourists are unaware of.
The town of Casino is a small one, with only about 10,000 people living there. When Beef Week arrives, however, the population swells to about 40,000. As the self-appointed Beef Capital of Australia, they have quite a bit invested in making sure that this event showcases the things they’re proud of.
Started up in 1982, the original intent for Beef Week was to promote the town to outsiders. It was designed as a tourist attraction and to help provide Casino with an identity. Naturally, since their chief money-maker was cattle, they went with the beef theme. Since then, it’s grown and become an entertaining festival that hosts a number of fun events for people of all ages.
When checking out Beef Week, one can expect to see such western-themed things as rodeos, steer competitions and wood chopping contests. There are also parades, drag races, several exhibitions of arts and crafts and the Miss Casino Beef Week competition. Dancing and music is abundant as is the most popular item at the festival, beef. All sorts of amazing food is available, though you’d probably need to be a carnivore to enjoy most of it. And each week-long celebration is themed differently for the year.
But the party doesn’t stop when the Beef Week events shut down for the night. Once the lights go out, people head down to the local pubs and continue to celebrate in a different way, with plenty of drink, more music and more dancing.
If you really want to get a taste of Australia’s less-known culture, head to Casino during this time. It’s a more intimate way to experience the country, meet and hang out with the locals of cattle country and enjoy some damn good steak to boot.