Posted by Rae Heston
Beach Cup committee chairman Michael McCafferty
FESTIVITIES surrounding the Rockingham Beach Cup will grow to three days this year, with the aim of attracting visitors to Rockingham for the whole weekend.
Beach Cup committee chairman Michael McCafferty reminded last Wednesday’s Palm Beach Rotary meeting that the 2016 event greatly exceeded expectations.
“We were hoping to get 5000 to 10,000 people but well and truly exceeded that,” he remarked. “I don't know how accurate the 50,000 crowd estimate was, but it was news all over the country. It even made the evening news (bulletins) in the UK.” This year’s festival weekend will begin with a corporate golf day on the Friday. It is being run by Brad Dean (the “sports-mad” chairman of the Rockingham and Port Kennedy Community Banks and the Peel Branch of Variety) assisted by financial adviser Danny Stent. It will take entries from 88 golfers and tickets will cost $150. Golf course costs will be $90 dollars per player which includes food, green fees and golf carts.
There will be a hole in one competition with the car as a prize, which will be covered by insurance. Raffles and an auction will be part of the fun.
Michael said the committee was expecting to make $6000 from the corporate golf day.
And all parts of the Beach Cup and associated festivals and displays will be expected to make money this year
The community arts festival will expand to cover on Saturday and Sunday and run over two two areas — Churchill Park and Bell Park.
It and the Beach cup would be rebranded as two separate events, attracting different grants. The arts festival would have a different look.
“We want it to be more contemporary with more street performances and contemporary artists,” Michael said. “Think fringe and young emerging artists.”
FLASHBACK: and they’re racing along the Rockingham beach.
Artists will be charged hanging fees and also commission on art sales. “The arts festival must be sustainable and making money.” Rockingham Beach Road will be
blocked off to traffic to encourage restaurants to come out onto the road. Street theatre and a chalk artist will be features of this area.
The criterium cycling race on the Saturday will be run by Peter Hornburg “and I think it will be spectacular”, Michael said. Similar events had been run in
Northbridge, Leederville and Fremantle. The Fremantle event was stopped because of parking problems but Michael believed those parking problems were created by
people who had gone to see the event (and taken money into the city!) Rockingham’s criterium would start in front of Rockingham Beach Road cafes, turn left into
Railway Terrace, then along came Kent Street, Flinders Lane and back into Rockingham Beach Road. It was a very strategic event. The cyclists ride for a given period of
time, it might be half an hour or an hour, then sprint to the finish line. There are very tight corners which means spills, but the cyclists expect that, he said.
There will be two races — one for male cyclists and one for females. The roads will have to be blocked off for about three hours.
The marquee area will expand to two large tents. There will be a general admission marquee which could accommodate 450 people and a second marquee to accommodate 250 VIPs — on a raised platform. The same people have been invited to take part in the racing — the same jockeys, the same trainers "and a few more”, Michael said. “Perth Racing is taking a much greater involvement.” They hugely helped with equipment and other support last year but this year intend getting heavily
involved in promoting the event. Racing executives saw the Beach Cup as a great way of promoting their industry too. Last November they had at a major event on the
same day as the Beach Cup.  They attracted 2000 to 3000 people at Ascot while Rockingham’s Beach Cup crowd was estimated at 50,000.
Michael said he had met several racing executives the previous week and they intended coming back with proposal within a fortnight.
Because the Beach Cup followed the Melbourne Cup and was in the middle of Perth racing events, it was well placed to benefit from all excitement.
“They want to involve their marketing team and will market our event as part of their summer carnival,” he said..
Perth Racing intended using the Rockingham Beach Cup as a leadin to its Tabtouch Masters series. (Last year Ascot become the first racecourse anywhere in the world
to stage a Group One race worth $1 million on three consecutive Saturdays.)
This year’s race book would be bigger and better than last year. Dale and Lloyd Kerferd would be producing it so it blossom into in full-colour. They had suggested
businesses put business vouchers in with their advertisements, to bring people back to Rockingham.
Fashions in the Sand would again be a feature of the Beach Cup entertainment. Once again the fashions would be judged by Robyn Patterson and Dale Kerferd.
Michael was hoping Fashions in the Sand would become part of the racing’s country fashions in the field contest. This would enable the Rockingham winners to parade
their outfits at Ascot and be in the running for a major prize, such as an overseas holiday.
He is expecting increased media exposure this year. He has been talking with 7 West Media, which has become an event partner, and had a meeting booked the following
day with FM radio station, 93.7 Nova.
Sound Telegraph chief John Whitaker had opened doors to 7 West Media and was planning a six-week promotion through the south-west group of papers.
“We're aiming to keep people in Rockingham for several days,” Michael reiterated. He was hoping that the cruising yacht club would allow visiting boaters to use its moorings. The Royal Australian Navy will have a large vessel moored just offshore and smaller boats will be moored in front of it.
Discussions were underway about having ferries bringing people from Elizabeth Quay to the Beach Cup races.
HMAS Stirling commander, Captain Brian Delamont, has promised the navy band will play at the gala dinner on the Saturday night and on the Sunday. It will be a rock band on Saturday night and blues on Sunday, he promised Michael. It is hoped Shaun McManus of Nova 97.3 will be a star attraction and Michael said the committee
was hoping to get Kevin Sheedy back again. “We’re hoping to get a football club to pick up the cost of his ticket,” Michael said. “We are working through that at the
moment.” “We were told they was not enough children’s entertainment last year,” Michael said. “This year we will have a children’s/family zone with rides and other carnival attractions. “Management of the kids’ zone will be contracted out. The operators will pay a fee for the lawn area and manage it. The rides must be reasonably priced and not big noisy mechanical ones.” Expressions of interest were being sought from people interested in running an “up-market” market of classy, local, handmade
arts and crafts. Organisers of two similar markets had been approached but were already booked that weekend. Both had said they would be interested if the Beach
Cup was on another date. Mick leCocq would be in charge of this activity.
The Hog’s Breath barbecue food van (which has been copied round Australia) would be operating. Its food would be a different style to that of beachfront restaurants.
Other food vendors would also be trading, but again they would all be local operators, Michael said.