SHE might be Australia’s fastest woman, but athlete Melissa Breen also cuts a fine figure in the style stakes.
In 2012 she not only became the first woman to win the Strickland Family Women’s Gift at Stawell off scratch, she also wowed the crowd – and the judges – to take out Easter Saturday’s popular fashions on the field competition in a classy green and black ensemble.
Breen returns to Central Park on Saturday – this time to take on the men in the southern hemisphere’s most prestigious footrace, the Stawell Gift.
She will juggle running duties with her role as a special guest judge of this year’s fashions on the field competition.
Organiser Joan MacPherson said the competition – which is a highlight of the annual Driscoll, McIllree and Dickinson ladies day – continued to grow each year.
“Judging is always a difficult job because there are so many entrants and the quality is so high,” she said.
“The competition always draws a big crowd, so we’re really looking forward to a great day out.”
The Lady of the Day will take home $1000 from Driscoll, McIllree and Dickinson and the coveted Billie Jo Peterson memorial sash.
The sash honours the late fashions on the field winner and popular gift competitor, who died in 2009 aged 26.
The second and third place-getters and the hat of the day winner will pick up Simone Perele lingerie vouchers.
Ballarat milliner Cecily David and Simone Perele manager Monique Crawford will also judge the competition.
Mrs MacPherson said judging would be from 3.15pm, with the winners presented on the Central Park ground at 4.16pm.
She said make-up artists would be available to provide touch-ups on the day.
Entry to fashions on the field is free.
Competitors can register at the Grampians Estate Winery marquee from 11am on Saturday.
A fashion parade showcasing the wares of Stawell businesses will precede the fashions on the field competition.
The parade, featuring the stores’ autumn collections, will start at 2.45pm.
The first 500 women through the gates at Central Park will receive a complimentary glass of Grampians Estate sparkling wine.
Mrs MacPherson said although it was called ‘ladies day’, Easter Saturday was a day for the whole family.
She said face-painting and an animal nursery would keep children entertained, while adults would enjoy live music.
“I encourage everyone to come along for a great day of entertainment both off and on the track,” she said.
The Stawell Gift carnival runs from tomorrow until Monday.
Racing – including heats of the Stawell Gift – starts on Saturday, with finals run on Monday.
Gates open at 9am.