A BARLEY paddock, fancy clothing, and lunch for 400 people.
Before 1995, hearing these things mentioned together might have sounded odd.
Now, this concept is the hottest ticket in town.
The Barley Banquet has become synonymous with Rupanyup, and attracts people from far and wide.
Each year in October, a marquee is set up in a barley paddock near the town for a black tie lunch.
The event aims to bring people together while also promoting agriculture and rural Victoria.
Since the first banquet in 1995, the initiative has raised more than $250,000 for the community.
In the past, tickets for the event – the town’s major fundraiser – have sold out within minutes of going on sale.
Rupanyup Major Events president Tess Healy said the event had evolved from being a get-together for locals.
“They brought their friends, and word got out. It’s just a hell of a good time,” she said.
“It was always the intention to have people from outside the area come to the town.
“The locals appreciate it, and those from other smaller communities can recognise the value of such an event.
“Those who have less to do with country settings can also appreciate the uniqueness of the event.
“It depends where you come from as to what you take from it.”
Miss Healy said social media had made a big difference to the event.
“It allows us to get information out at a reasonably low cost, which means we can focus our budget on other components of the event,” she said.
“Before we were paying for invites to be sent out to the mailing list from previous years, and not necessarily knowing what sort of strike rate we would get.”
This year’s Barley Banquet will be on October 20.