Record numbers converged on Ben Bolt Park for the Bowen Cup
A RECORD crowd converged on Ben Bolt Park as almost 4,000 people braved the rain for the Bowen Cup on Saturday.
This year marked 155 years of the Bowen Cup, making the event one of the oldest in Queensland with the first meet having been held in 1863.
Bowen Turf Club Secretary Emily Harvey said the committee had expected numbers to triple on past events, but the final numbers were "unprecedented” with close to 4,000 people through the gates.
"It was fantastic, pretty much a record. We had heaps of people on Facebook and emailing us telling us how great it was,” Ms Harvey said.
"We expected it to be bigger, but not that big. We ran out of alcohol in the end, but everyone still had a fantastic time.”
Luxe Fashion House Fashions on the Field was also a major success with prizes for Lady of the Day over-35, Fashionable Filly, under-35, Gentleman of the Day and Millinery Masterpiece up for grabs.
Major sponsor and co-ordinator Trish O'Sing said contenders "stepped up a whole notch” this year.
"They've put a lot more effort into it. They're wearing a lot of detailing rather than just working a plain fascinator. They've gone into full detail getting them made to match their outfits,” Mrs O'Sing said.
"I know there are people from Brisbane who have flown up to be here today. You can see the audience and the number of people. About 50 per cent of the races is fashion.”
Allison Airey, Bowen, was dubbed Lady of the Day in a tasteful, classic look which won the judges' approval in a victory she said was extremely "flattering”.
"It's amazing, but I'm shaking. A little bit of shock I think. There's so many beautifully dressed ladies,” she said.
"I was sort of trying to go for a mix of modern and classic. You've got to love the flowers and spring.”
Fashionable Filly Nikki Howard, Moranbah caught the judges' eye with an elegant outfit while Gentleman of the Day Chris Szollos, Bowen, said his outfit was thrown together at the last minute.
"The whole thing wasn't really planned out,” he said.
"My friends called it, but I just wanted to wear something that would stand out. When you've got a personality as big as mine, something's got to stand out.”
A pale pink headpiece saw Chloe Smith, Collinsville, take the Millinery Masterpiece title ahead of vivid, feathery fascinators, flower crowns and netted hats.
Ms Harvey said next year's event is shaping up to be even bigger and better with planning with infrastructure changes including increased power access and amenity blocks, as well as general catering to manage even bigger crowds.