- Bachelor and Spinster Balls
Bachelor and Spinster Balls (B&S) events are hosted regularly in
rural Australia, known locally as "B & S Balls" or simply "B&S's". They are staged for young (18 years and over) spinsters and bachelors and traditionally the couples dress up in formal wear. Large volumes of alcoholsuch as beer, spirits, Bundaberg Rumand Jim Beamcan be consumed. The activities usually start at night and run until morning, but from mid-afternoon people will start to arrive and the partying/drinking will begin. Country musicis often features at these events.
Historically the event has centered around country people trying to find a partner, but in modern times the focus has shifted to having a good time and meeting up with new and old friends, some of whom can live many hours away. This has changed the atmosphere of the events to such a degree that the dress code is relaxed and many do not wear formal gear, preferring to dress in clothes from
opportunity shops. Even when they are wearing formal attire, today most of the men (and some of the women) sport akubras, bootsand R. M. Williamsgear. Some people go in fancy dress, for example, school girls, nurses, clowns or lawn bowlers.
It is not unusual for the modern B&S's to be run by ute enthusiasts following minor
Ute Musters. Ute drivers at the B & S Balls sometimes perform stunts, such as driving their utes at dusk and throw flames from the exhausts and circle work. 'Circle work', usually banned, is where the utes are driven in tighter and tighter circles. Food dye is a regular sight at a B&S and is normally thrown on people (even when it is banned). A B&S Virgin (a person who is attending for the first time) is often marked with the word "Virgin".
After the event people usually sleep in their
swagon the back of their ute. Usually the committee supplies something for dinner and breakfast the next day. Some committees run a 'recovery' where the ball goers move to a different location to continue drinking, having fun and sometimes participating in competitions.
Tickets can cost anything from $80 to $110 and usually include all you can drink, dinner and sometimes breakfast as well as little gifts such as ear tags, hats, stickers and sometimes condoms and lubricant. People will travel many miles to attend the balls, and the profits made from them go to local charities and good causes such as the Royal Flying Doctor service,
Red Crossand the Australian Cancer Council, as well as local charities to the specific area.
Today the future of B & S balls is in jeopardy as rising insurance costs take their toll and more young people from country areas move to cities. However thousands of people make the effort to drive for many hours to support something that they love and wish to continue for future generations. There are many websites dedicated to the future of balls.
* [http://www.countrybns.com CountryBNS Website]
* [http://www.broncridersball.com.au Bronc Riders Ball - Tasmanian B&S]
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