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Following a challenging 12 months due to COVID-19, Australia’s longest-running community festival was back with a bang in 2021!

Unique to the Northern Rivers, Casino Beef Week is an annual celebration of the Australian beef industry – and the rural way of life.

It’s a time when the streets come alive with an electric atmosphere that is loved by locals and tourists alike.

“Due to the cancellation of Beef week in 2020, the atmosphere in 2021 was one of renewed hope and joy in the community being able to come together in celebration,” said ETC Business Relationship Manager Alec.

“Beef Week is a celebration of rural culture that unites people across the Richmond Valley,” he said.

With over 100 different events across 11 days, Casino Beef Week delivers family-friendly entertainment, education, and an authentic country experience to its event go-ers.

It is an integral part of the community – and brings in a massive 15-20 thousand attendees.

“Due to the huge number of people who attend, it’s significant from an economic and tourism perspective for the community,” said Alec.

The unofficial kick-off event started with the Breakfast with the Butchers BBQ – where ETC staff were delighted to donate their time and assist with the cooking.

This is the main event that the public gets involved in, and when the initial crowds of people start flooding in.

“Beef Week is something everyone looks forward to each year – it taps into the community atmosphere”, said ETC Casino Business Relationship Advisor Marnie.

Marnie also donated her time to mentor this year’s Casino Beek Week Queen contestants.

“The aim of the competition is to find young rural women who will become strong leaders and inspire future generations,” said Beef Week President Frank McKey.

It gives young, dynamic local women an opportunity to showcase rural life in Northern NSW – and become an Ambassador for Beef Week and the Richmond Valley.

Marnie helped entrants with all aspects of their preparation, including public speaking, framing responses, how to carry themselves on stage and managing nerves.

They affectionately named her their Queen Mentor.

“She hated being called the Queen Mum, which is why we called her our Queen Mentor,” said the contestants warmly.

Marnie said that this experience is like preparing for a job interview – which she helps ETC customers prepare for every day.

The official opening night of Casino Beef Week 2021 was a glamorous crowning ball, where one lucky local lady was named the annual Beef Week Queen.

After a big night of tough competition, this year’s winner was beautiful and bubbly, 20-year-old Brooklyn Handford.

“I was shocked when I was announced this year’s Queen,” said Brooklyn.

“I speak a lot, but I was so speechless! It’s something that I’ve looked up to since I was a little girl, so I was very excited – and having my family there to watch, it was just amazing!

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brooklyn was a performer in the Australian Outback Spectacular.

She is also no stranger to representing her hometown, taking out Miss Show Girl 2019 and 2020.

“When this opportunity came up, I was here at home, and wasn’t planning on going anywhere – so I thought why not? I’m here at Beef Week every year so why not give it a go!” said Brooklyn.

“I’ve grown up in Casino, and Beef Week has always been the biggest celebration of the year – to me it’s better than Christmas!” she said.

As Queen, her duties included being involved in all major events during the 11-day festival.

Brooklyn was overjoyed with her prizes but wasn’t sure what she would do with them quite yet.

ETC was proud to sponsor this iconic event, and love to see the happiness and celebration that it brings into the picturesque town of Casino.

“Beef week is an event that brings the whole Casino community together – being involved in this event demonstrates that ETC is a part of, and cares about, the communities we work in,” said Alec.




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