LUCINDALE'S Yakka Park experienced four seasons in one at the SE Field Days on the weekend - wet and windy one day followed by perfectly sunny conditions the next.
It meant that Friday's crowd was well down on previous years, but Saturday's turnout was a near record.
Friday's weather tested exhibitors and patrons with 14mm of rain and gale force winds.
Event secretary Lyn Crosby said several sites decided it wasn't worth hanging around after their tents were blown away in the wild conditions.
"There were a handful of tents which were totally destroyed so those people packed up and didn't come back for the Saturday," she said.
"But those who did stay were well rewarded.
"I've been secretary for 11 years and there have been five of what we would call weather events...they're just one-offs though which is why we run the field days when we do.
"The exhibitors can only do their best and the committee can only do their best, the weather is totally out of our control."
The 7500 people who wandered through the gates on Friday swelled to 13,500 on Saturday when near perfect conditions were a welcome change - this was the largest single day crowd seen in several years.
Overall the total crowd figures peaked at just over 21,000 - 1000 down on 2013 - and there were nearly 580 exhibitors.
"I think the weather was mainly the reason for lower numbers," Mrs Crosby said.
"It did clash with something in Victoria as well and I think some people are doing it a bit tough at the moment."
Each year the field days committee, led by Lucindale Lions Club members, refreshes the program to ensure a variety of new entertainment and attractions are combined with the proven regulars.
The feature entertainment act this year was the Lumberjack Show - a comedy featuring Canadians, Americans and New Zealanders.
The hilariously entertaining athletic and lumberjacking skills of Eric Hoberg, from Missoula, USA and Nick Hall, from Ontario, Canada were on display three times each day.
It attracted huge crowds, especially on the Saturday.
Michelle Lefler, from Vancouver, Canada hosted the show which was produced by her New Zealand born husband Ben Lefler.
The Factory FMX Freestyle Motorcross team was back again for the second consecutive year with Millicent's Josh Burdon showing off amazing aerial feats.
Friday's wind and rain curtailed most of his show that day but the big Saturday crowd got to see talented rider excel.
He is the highest ranked independent freestyle motorcross rider in the country.
Younger members of the public enjoyed the Balharry Memorial Kindergarten children's activity tent which provided plenty of activities on both days, as did Old Macdonald's Animal Nursery which was packed with plenty of smiling faces.
The combined Lucindale and Naracoorte Primary Schools' choir again entertained in the Elad Shed leading into the ever popular fashion parades.
Local models of all ages showcased the latest women's, men's and children's fashion from the various participating clothing sites on the grounds.
The Elad Shed also hosted the New South Wales Quilters Guild suitcase challenge for 2013 titled "Hexagon Hype" which many enjoyed looking over.
Last year SA Police attended with its Dixie Band and this year they were back with a site to commemorate 175 years serving the community.
They gave out information and also had an interactive display where visitors could get a photo on a motorcycle.
Another highlight was Kathryn Chaston, who has a home-based jewellery business between Apsley and Frances, with demonstrations of glass-blowing techniques.
Maza Gourmet Foods and Jenny Wisbey's Gourmet Produce provided regular cooking demonstrations in the Yakka Pavilion, and there were presentations from St Marys Wines, Koonara Wines, Collie Park, Dickens Delights and Gwandalan Alpacas.
Many of the exhibitors put lots of effort into the presentation of their sites and four were duly recognised by the field days' committee.
The "best indoor exhibit" award, sponsored by the ANZ Bank, went to a business who recovered after losing their tent in Friday's wind - Suzette Watkins and Mike Fewster from Australian Landscape Jewellery.
Wickham Flower Bordertown won the "best agricultural machinery" (also known as the "stock handling exhibit") award sponsored by Southern Australian Livestock and Meningie Fodder took out the Barrett Distributors award for "best single exhibit".
The "best overall exhibit" award for 2014, sponsored by Lucindale Lions Club, went to Drews Workshop Supplies at Naracoorte.
This year's SE Field Days started out as an event to forget because of the weather but ended up being one to remember for all the right reasons.
Planning is already underway for 2015 and the event will be staged on March 20-21.
Helping out the local SE and wider community
Lucindale Lions Club donated $24,200 to a number of organisations at the SE Field Days.
President Dave Brooker presented the cheques to the grateful recipients.
The Kingston Hospital was the biggest beneficiary to the tune of $10,000.
Other donations were made out to:
- MS Society $1000
- Cranio-Maxillo Facial Foundation $1000
- Red Cross $1000
- Prostate Cancer Action Group $1000
- Lucindale Golf Club $200
- Lions Drought Relief $5000
- Lions Childhood Cancer Research $1000
- Lions Diabetes Foundation $1000
- Lions Save Sight Foundation $1000
- Lions Cord Blood Foundation $1000
- Lions Medical Research $1000