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The years in between these events seem to go very quickly as all of a sudden the event was on. Held on the first weekend of May each year, the Palmer Crystal and Craft Fair incorporating the South Australian Detecting Championships proves to continue to be one of Australia's most attended events with over 100 entrants for the detecting sessions. Many of them pre-entered and the rest turned up on the Sunday ready to enter and talk anything detecting related.
Along with the traditional faces and smiles came a lot of new comers to the industry who were keen to see what the event was like and of course to get a chance to win the first prize - a GPX 5000 proudly donated by Minelab. The minor prizes were many, the majority of which were donated by Miners Den SA and Coiltek so many of the participants had the opportunity of claiming a prize.
As per previous years, the major prize was linked to an unknown item planted in the field so even finding keys, tokens, junk or rare finds could have scored the GPX 5000. When the countdown for the sessions finished the 120 detectorists, all lined up along one edge of the designated area, hustled off just as you would if you were starting a running race, all jostling for pole position to get into space and start swinging. The terrain was an open field with low stubble from the previous crop and a gentle slope which made a great image when standing back watching the operators swing, dig, swing, dig... with the occasion pair stopping for a quick chat and a laugh.
As I wandered through the crowd and asked how they were going I could sense that the mood was of high anticipation although a relaxed and calmness was about the operators as the common comment was - well you got to be in it to win it! It is a great sight when you see a field of humans in place of a field of sheep or cattle! The cars which passed by on the nearby Mannum Road tooted with curiosity and some even hurled a comment of two which went unheard as the majority were wearing headphones!
When it came time to tally up the finds, there were many who had plenty and a few operators found some rare coins which were not planted for the hunt, one of which was a Cartwheel Penny in reasonable condition - an awesome find!
Then came the time of the prize draw which was again held in front of the hall with Kym Lichel from Mannum minerals belting out the draw with the occasional comedic line which kept the atmosphere fresh and relaxed.... 'did anyone find a small earring with a heart attached?' he asked - a member of the Southern Seekers Detecting Club, Richard Boxall, slowly came forward not expecting much but his jaw opened when he saw Jeff Nicotra from Minelab smiling and holding a large, Brand NEW, Minelab GPX 5000 box waiting to shake his hand! The crowd cheered for Richard (even though you could tell they were thinking - I wish that was me!) and he humbly accepted his prize with a great smile and in somewhat disbelief he returned to his place in the crowd with many congratulating him.
As always, the Palmer event is a great success and continues to grow in the junior and senior sessions and the more that we can do to promote the hobby will ultimately keep these sort of events going for many years to come. It is the energy we put in collectively which helps support the network and ultimately the end user. The extra information and comradeship which happens at this event is enduring and all look forward to next year!
A big thanks goes out to Mannum Minerals and the Murraylands club for putting on another great event. Without the effort from these volunteers the event would just not happen. Also a big thanks to Minelab for the Major prize and to Coiltek and Miners Den SA for the continued sponsorship: these sponsors help promote the industry and keep the people coming back to enjoy the event. See you all next year!
Miner's Den SA
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