The day our Old Timers move to centre stage

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By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

If you’re serious about spending the rest of your days in The Alice, chances are someone will pop the question: Got your booking in at the Old Timers?

And chances are it won’t be at all an unfamiliar place: each year thousands of locals spend the second Saturday in August there, buying jams and books, dolls and clothing, getting their face painted, riding a hurdy gurdy, entertaining the crowd with a song or just having Devonshire Tea.

The fete is run entirely by volunteers, as Old Timers village manager Mary Miles explains in the film clip.

The interstate network of  Frontier Services of the Uniting Church also kicks in: parishes in NSW, Victoria and South Australia send boxes of goodies – knitted goods, children’s wear, coat hangers and knee rugs – seven trestle tables full.

Locals supply home made cakes, marmalades, and preserves. You can buy books by the box – $6 a small one or $10 a big one.

Anything new this year, the 44th fete? Nope. People like it the way it is – and was.

How many people go? Thousands. How much money is made? It was $64,000 last year. This year’s takings are still being counted.

While in some places aged care homes exist on the fringe, this one thrives in the very hearts of the people of Alice Springs.

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