Fairy Meadow Bowling club will begin its 60th anniversary celebrations early with the biggest honour in Illawarra bowls as headquarters for the South Pacific carnival, which begins on Tuesday.
More than 800 bowlers will pack into 15 clubs for nine days play in the biggest annual bowls event in the Southern Hemisphere.
The carnival celebrates its 58th year, while Fairy Meadow BC - who were headquarters just four years ago - is commemorating its 60th year in 2017.
‘’We thought it would be great for the members to start 2017 by being headquarters of this great carnival,’’ Fairy Meadow BC president Ian Kenny said.
‘’Our secretary-manager Sandra Pegg led the way and now it’s here we can’t wait to show off the club.’’
It will be a special final carnival for Pat Heffernan, one of the region’s most respected greenkeepers, who this month marked his 40th year at the northern Illawarra club and will retire next July.
Heffernan will play pairs with Scott Buckley and will have the three greens in perfect condition. Fairy Meadow host all finals on January 5.
Fairy Meadow BC can easily accommodate 250-plus patrons and has a TAB and soon to be renovated bar, plus a bistro to serve members and visitors from before lunch to well after the last match has ended.
As it approaches its 60th year, Fairy Meadow will be carnival HQ for an eighth time after first being in charge in 1967-68.
They last ran the carnival in 2012-13 while their last winning team was in 2002 when Greg Dumbleton and Steve Humphries claimed the Pairs at Oak Flats.
This year, Fairy Meadow members will follow the fortunes of leading players Mark Kesby, Peter Grubb and Thomas Webb, who played pennants last season after joining from Victoria.
Other Fairy Meadow members looking for a good run in the South Pacific this year include Gary Hynd, club stalwart Ashley Christie and his son Danyon, plus Steve McPherson and his son Guy.
The carnival begins with 20 sections of fours, including nine sections at Fairy Meadow.