PAGE 38 I THE GREAT ALPINE ROAD VISITOR GUIDE PICNIC RACES There’s plenty of action both on and off the track at a traditional picnic races gathering. Country racing hospitality at its best Experience the beauty and hospitality of the High Country at one of the region’s iconic picnic races. Picnic racing has a long history in Victoria with racing dating back to the early eighteen hundreds. The relaxed atmosphere of picnic racing is a major drawcard for patrons. Being able to drive into racecourses, park under a tree and set up an esky and the barbecue in bush surroundings provides an experience like no other form of racing. In the picturesque Kiewa Valley in North Eastern Victoria, the Dederang Picnic Race Club was established in 1865 and holds its annual meet on the first Saturday in January, however in 2018 the Dederang Picnic Races was abandoned due to extreme heat. The club has since moved its race meet to March. In March 2019 the Dederang Picnic Races will be held on Saturday, March 16. Dederang’s race day includes the event’s famous tug of war and for speedsters of all ages the Madman’s Mile, a race around the track at the end of the day, providing a great spectacle for all. The Buchan Valley saw its first races in 1887 with a 10-event program. Forty years later races were held on the picturesque racecourse at Canni Creek, a little over 10 minutes south of Buchan and home to the Buchan and Gelantipy Racing Club. The Canni Creek races includes a program of family fun with fashions on the field, face painting, children’s races and lolly drop, petting farm and a children’s carnival. For the 131st year, the club will host the Canni Creek Picnic Races on Saturday, February 16, 2019. Established in 1876, the Omeo District Race Club holds its annual meet at the Hinnomunjie racetrack on the Saturday of the Labour Day weekend in March each year. In 2019 the meet will happen on Saturday, March 9. Features of the Hinnomunjie races are the infamous hobby horse and paper plane races. Photography, paintings and history of the area’s history are also featured. The Tambo Valley Racing Club will hold its 124th annual picnic races on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019. The racecourse is located two kilometres north of Swifts Creek on the beautiful Tambo River. Magnificent weeping willows provide shade in the lawn area and excellent catering is available as is a licensed bar. Caravan sites are available, but be quick as there is a limit of 30 sites. A feature of the Tambo Valley picnic races is the world famous Cock-A-Doodle Cup, which allows the younger mem- bers of the crowd to exercise their vocal talent in copying the noise of a fine feathered fluffy fancy friendly fabulous rooster. Each year spectators from near and far raise thousands of dollars for charity and the local community. High Country picnic races - where old friends, visitors and locals meet, and new love blossoms. Enjoy all the traditions of horse racing mixed with good old country hospitality.