Paddock To Plate

Christmas in July in Tamworth

In the southern hemisphere, winter falls in July. Therefore in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in order to have Christmas with a winter feel Christmas in July events are undertaken.

However, Christmas in December, the usual month, is a far more common practice, despite it being summer.

In the northern hemisphere some people throw parties during July that mimic Christmas celebrations, bringing the atmosphere of Christmas but with warmer temperatures. Parties may include Santa Claus, ice cream and other cold foods, and gifts. Nightclubs often host parties open to the public.

The Tamworth Regional Council has a Social Club
It has been going strong for 20 years. One of their most popular events is their annual ‘Christmas in July’ party, which has been happening for about the last 15 years. Each year it’s at a different venue. This year it’s being held at The Playhouse Hotel in the tiny town of Barraba, about an hour from Tamworth. 37 people are attending, 30 will be coming up on a coach from Tamworth, and 7 guests are locals from Barraba.

This year’s party has been organized by Craig Orvad, the Social Club’s president. He’s also the brainchild behind the event because he was the person who first suggested that a group of them get together for a Christmas in July dinner all those years ago.

The Playhouse Hotel
The building used to be called The Central Hotel and was the oldest pub in Barraba. It was built out of brick in 1905 because previously the building on that site had been built of wood and subsequently burnt down. The pub had its heyday during the wool boom in the 1950s but then slowly fell into disrepair. Andrew Sharp and his partner bought it in 2002 and did significant renovations and finally opened The Playhouse Hotel in 2007.

They decided to incorporate a theatre in the venue because of Andrew’s background – he used to work in the theatre and performing arts in London and thought that venues like this were needed in regional NSW to bring cultural opportunities to people in the country. So the black box studio theatre was built where the old hotel’s pool hall was. The theatre has seating capacity of 80. The hotel also has 10 guest rooms and a restaurant.


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