Wednesday 4 September 2013

Fields of Fire - Cairns Festival

Last weekend was the end of the Cairns Festival and one of the last events on was the 'Fields of Fire'. I had seen this advertised and immediately decided I wanted to go along.

It was a celebration of the past, part of the history of sugar cane.
It was held at the very picturesque Blazing Saddles, at Yorkey's Knob, just North of Cairns. 

The organisers went all out with free entry and many free activities to join in with like a 'bull ride', pony rides, kids entertainment, a local band The Hillbilly Goats. There was also pig on a spit and wood fired pizzas. The line ups said how popular everything was. The biggest catch was the limited numbers allowed in ... but I got in :).

All of this happened beside one of the properties cane fields and as the afternoon progressed I watched the colours of the sky change over it.

Once darkness fell that was when the much anticipated event of the evening occurred.
The first tiny fire was started which grew with speed sending sparks into the night air.

Fire works then lit the evening to tell all that the fire had started.

The far end of the paddock was alight and as the fire grew so did the glow.

About 10minutes was all it took for the paddock to be consumed and the flames to die out. I never imagined it would be so fast. I had seen a cane field burning once when I was younger near Bundaberg and ever since then I have wanted to experience it again, and photograph it of cause.

And as the last embers went out a firework display heralded the end of a magnificent display of fire, a field of fire in fact.What a tribute to a way of life.

Note: The burning of sugar cane was once a regular practise to protect men from the diseases found within the cane paddock because of the rats and their messes. It disinfected the cane and it also cleaned out the field getting rid of rats, snakes and weeds. Now it is rarely used as large machinery means there is little human contact with the cane. It is still sometimes used to clean up a paddock for harvest, getting rid of vermin and weeds. The huge benefit of this practise it that it increases the sugar content of the cane, giving a better yield but the downside is it means the cane has to be processed within two days or it is ruined.

If interested you can see more from ABC here.

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  1. This was fascinating. I love that you were able to attend this event. WOW! I learned something new today : ).

  2. What an awesome event to be part of, lucky you got in, what a great day, food, music and fireworks. Thanks for sharing it, sounds like something I would love.

  3. @ Life with Kaishon - I am glad you learnt something new and found it interesting, it was new for me too.

  4. @ Alicia - I didn't think I would get in as I certainly didn't arrive early. You will have to come check it out one year, I hope they do it again.


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