The signature fire
The signature fire Emma Priestly

The good old fashioned bash that brings people from all over

AH Caragabal, you did it again.

You turned on that country charm and threw a good old fashioned bash that brought people from all corners of the state. 

We travelled for six hours to the small central NSW town but we weren't the weariest travellers. Some travelled for 10 plus hours to attend Caragabal's annual camp oven cook off.

>> Caragabal: the small town with a huge community spirit

And if you went you'd know why.

The annual fundraising event is everything you'd expect from a country shindig: cooking, family fun, music and a bloody great big fire.

Caragabal camp oven cook off tug-o-war:
Caragabal camp oven cook off tug-o-war:

This year the event kicked off with a variety of games for the whole family.

My son took part in the egg and spoon race, I hoiked a gumboot in the gumboot throwing comp and my husband and brothers-in-law came extremely close to winning the highly-competitive tug-o-war.

Later our family raced to boil our billy the fastest in the billy-boiling comp before we dug holes in the ground and filled them with hot coals for our camp ovens.

This year my sister-in-law took out first place in the camp oven cook off for her chocolate mousse swirl cheesecake.

Yes, she baked a cheesecake in a camp oven and it was amazing!

My sister-in-law and her husband with their first place prize. Sorry, there's no photos of the winning cheesecake because we ate it!
My brother and sister-in-law with their first place prize. Sorry, there's no photos of the winning cheesecake because we ate it! Alexia Purcell

Then the signature fire was lit. A few huge dead trees, piled on top of each other, it would have been least 10m long and 2m high.

As people stood around warming themselves and as the night and cold started to settle the music started.

But when my husband took to the stage with his acoustic guitar and drummer friend, the paddock became a dance floor.

We boogied to some country hits, dance classics and good old-fashioned sing-a-longs.

When the night wound down around midnight, revellers crawled into their caravans and tents.

People warm themselves around and listen to the live music
People gather around the fire and listen to the live music. Emma Priestly

I always love the next morning: eating stew out of our camp ovens nestled among the coals of the still-burning fire with a hot coffee and good company.

Until next time, thanks again Caragabal. 

WHAT: Caragabal camp oven cook off
WHERE: Caragabal, NSW
WHEN: Sunday of the June long weekend
CONTACT: Caragabal Memorial Hall on Facebook or call Donna Pursehouse (02) 6347 5230 or Dixie Maslin (02) 6347 5341

Alexia Purcell is News Regional Media's social media editor. Connect with Alexia on Facebook: