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Big day planned for Somerton’s Australia Day

Most of us sat and watched the start, race strategies and finish of Andoo Comanche taking out the recent Sydney To Hobart Yacht Race. And while the upcoming Greater Somerton Hotel Canoe Race on the Peel River will be on a much smaller scale, just as much intensity and enthusiasm will be displayed by the expected 20 to 25 contestants.

Somerton Hotel publican Jason Steele is looking forward to the January 28 event which is conducted annually by the hotel’s Somerton Family Fishing Club. Competitors don‘t need to register – just turn up on the day at the local bridge for a slice of generous prizes.

“It’s a great annual event for the village. It wasn’t held last year because of Covid, so this will be our first one,” said Jason, who purchased the hotel back in late 2021, and, along with wife Cherie, has worked tirelessly to get the popular watering hole back up and running.

“We’ll probably get anything up to 25 paddlers in canoes and kayaks. It starts at 11am, the trip will be over seven kilometres and prizes will be awarded for first, second and third plus a junior division.”

Though the fun won’t stop at the river bank, according to Jason.

“Everyone can come back here to the pub for the yabbie race and goanna pulling events. We’ll also have a jumping castle for the kids, plenty of good tucker and cold beer, as well as live music by Charlie Hackett from 7pm,” he said.

“Over Country Music Week, we have free camping throughout, plus live music from Willow (this Friday) and Dave, King of Blues (Saturday 21st). We can offer full shower amenities and powered sites, good tucker, cold beer and great hospitality,” he joked.

Since re-opening Somerton Hotel, Jason and Cherie have been up to their elbows working to make their new venture a success. Plenty of upgrading work has been done with more plans in the pipeline – like the big pizza oven currently being built in an old concrete water tank.

“This year we’ll continue to hold an event each month which proved popular last year. Our next one will be the trivia night on Saturday, February 25 where people can book tables of six for some great prizes.

“We must be doing something right though, people keep telling us what a great job we’re doing. And it’s been good for us too – re-opening for the little community.”