Cootamundra beach festival set to draw massive crowd

Various kinds of beach sprints are held for under 14s and also for adults whether they're volleyball players or not. Photo: file
Various kinds of beach sprints are held for under 14s and also for adults whether they're volleyball players or not. Photo: file

COOTAMUNDRA's biggest sporting event of the year, the two-day Coota Beach Volleyball Festival, gets under way on Saturday, with the first games being served up at 8am.

An estimated 600 visitors from throughout NSW and the ACT have already booked out most accommodation, while a further 800 locals will be participating as players or spectators.

Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council was due to close off Murray Street, next to the swimming pool.

The council will truck in around 700 tonnes of sand - a special kind of sand similar to brickies loam - to be spread over the road way for the events.

As in last year, there will be eight courts in use, consisting of two permanent courts next to the swimming pool and six temporary courts in the sand along the street, with council workers putting up the grandstands along one side.

Registrations have fallen just short of last year's record of 128 teams, each of six players on court plus reserves.

It's very much a mixed event, with each team of six required to have no more than three males on court at any given time.

Every team will play three games on Saturday, and will also have umpiring duties.

All players must play at least three games on the Saturday to qualify to play on Sunday.

This will be the event's 20th year.

Over the two decades during it has grown to become one of the premier events in the Riverina.

The council will be trucking in sand from a storage location near the racecourse, while further sand will be trucked in by James Graham from a quarry near Jugiong to make up for the sand that got lost in transition from last year.

The spreading of the sand and preparation of the courts will be done by Fallon's Excavations.

The company uses two large earthmoving machines, a Caterpillar front end loader and a John Deer loader with a land leveller, to create the "beach".

Between games players and families take a break for a swim at the pool next door, or stroll a few metres to the main street for coffee, food, a drink or some retail therapy in businesses open for the weekend.