This year marks the 17th year of the Coota Beach Volleyball Carnival and the next generation of local enthusiasts are starting to take to the sand.
The team including Harrison Howse, Charlie Annetts, Olivia McDermott, Winona Lee and Div Perera, has an average age of 19 – most were in nappies when the first Coota Beach took place, but the concept is not lost on them.
If anything, Coota Beach is growing in popularity.
All have played at Coota Beach previously but this is the first year they have combined as a team and they could not be more excited.
“It is the best weekend in Cootamundra each year,” Div said.
“So many people from out of town come for it; you get to see all your friends who have moved away and come back or gone to boarding school,” she continued.
These young people have been around for the rapid growth of the event, which has doubled in size over the past decade, and couldn’t be happier to see it happen in their town.
“So much effort goes into it for us to have a great weekend,” Harrison said, thanking those behind-the-scenes who make Coota Beach happen.
“No-one out there is having a bad day,” he added.
Harrison is taking his Coota Beach lead-up seriously with a practice court set up in the backyard by parents Penny and Stephen – look out for some well-rehearsed moves from the entire Howse family this weekend!
Team members must be 14-years to play on Coota Beach and this year there are a number of local teams featuring predominately teenagers, many only 14 or 15 years.
The future of Coota Beach looks bright pleasing organisers.
This year, organisers estimate that about a fifth of the 125 teams feature mostly visiting players.
Those teams which visit year on year for the event provide a valued economic boost to the town.
No vacancy signs will be up at most accommodation venues in town and local pubs, clubs and cafes are expecting to see a boost in patronage.
Those who have played at Coota Beach for many years would associate the smooth toned and light-hearted commentary from Gil Kelly with the event.
This year, he will not be in the announcer’s box with local stock and station agent Col Harris taking up the mantle.
Those teams posting photos to social media this weekend should use the hashtag #cootabeach to see their photos included with those images snapped by Cootamundra Herald photographers in online galleries next week.