Wednesday, 9 August 2017. Charismatic media personality Damien Anthony Rossi – known to his thousands of followers as ‘Mr Hollywood in Oz’ – will join the esteemed judging panel of QT Port Douglas Fashions on the Field (FOTF) at this year’s Cairns Amateurs Carnival.

The popular presenter of Channel 7’s iconic lifestyle program, The Great Day Out, and Brisbane Racing Club’s Fashion Ambassador, Damien has show business in his blood and is honing his star-style radar in readiness for the Far North’s biggest racing and fashion event.

Damien will be joined on the judging panel by Cairns Amateurs ambassador and fashion designer Angela Menz, couture milliner Carole Maher, and publisher Cathryn Meredith of Ladies in Racing, as FOTF becomes a showcase event of the iconic racing carnival.

As The Great Day Out’s resident entertainment reporter, Damien is always up-to-date on latest celebrity fashion, while his impeccable sense of personal style has made him a sought-after host of events ranging from the Mercedes-Benz Townsville Fashion Festival and the Channel 7 Brisbane Racing Carnival Fashions on the Field competition, to the glamorous annual Gambaro Moet & Chandon Ball and Aria’s celebrated annual Melbourne Cup Event.



In Cairns, Damien says his head will be turned by entrants who show originality, while respecting the long-standing traditions of Fashions on the Field events across Australia.

“Contestants need to be aware of the guidelines for the category they are entering, as well as current trends in spring race wear,” Damien said.

“That being said, Cairns Amateurs is all about celebrating the unique tropical way of life, and judges will be looking for contestants who are not afraid to push the boundaries, but do so in a positive way.

“I will be looking for contestants who make an impact by dressing to suit their personality as well as showing an original and creative interpretation of this year’s theme of, ‘Colours of the Reef’, which is the perfect representation of this iconic carnival and its outstanding tropical location,” he said.

Each year, FOTF appoints judges from across the spectrum of Australian fashion and media to cast their expert eyes over entrants, ensuring the event is a true reflection of contemporary trends, style and elegance.

In 2017, FOTF now held in the General Admissions Area will be on the fashions lawn under the Fig trees, ensuring prime viewing of the glamorous spectacle by all racegoers, with guest milliner Kerrie Stanley to MC the hotly contested event.

The competition comprises six categories across two days, on Friday 1 September and Saturday 2 September, and will see more than 150 local and interstate competitors vie for winning titles and an impressive prize pool valued at more than $80,000 including the top prize of two return flights to Singapore.

Contestants styled to reflect the event’s theme, ‘Colours of the Reef’, have the chance to win an overnight stay for two at Green Island resort, including return transfers, accommodation in an island suite and buffet breakfast.

Judging criteria is based on style and originality, interpretation of latest trends, appropriateness of race wear for a spring carnival in Cairns, attention to detail, style, design and quality of workmanship of millinery, grooming and deportment.

Now in its 59th anniversary year, Cairns Amateurs Carnival is vying to beat last year’s pleasing attendance of 18,000 racegoers with a refreshed and glamorous blend of tropical fun, fashion and racing over three days, from Thursday 31 August to Saturday 2 September 2017.

For further information and to buy tickets, click here Cairns Amateurs Carnival Tickets. 

History of Cairns Amateurs Carnival

The Far North Queensland Amateur Turf Club Inc was established in 1959 by the late Sir Sydney Williams OBE and Les Gallagher to introduce a coastal version of the historical Oak Park races as a way of bringing city and country together. 

The committee of 10 members spanning representatives from outback stations and Cairns businesses, presented the first ever Cairns Amateurs Carnival on 18 and 19 September, 1959.

In its early days the Cairns Amateurs ran six races on each day of the two-day program and from the very outset was held under Vice-Regal patronage, with the then Governor, Sir Henry Abel Smith. 

Jockeys were, as the club name suggests, amateur riders and came mainly from the inland stations. 

Professional riders were not present until many years later due to changes in race regulations. 

While the club expressed disappointed at the mid-1990 ruling which disallowed amateur riders from competing, the ‘amateurs’ tradition has been retained and is deeply instilled within the spirit of the club’s culture.

Today, the mission of the club is to operate a sustainable and accessible annual racing carnival showcasing the social, cultural and commercial attributes of Cairns and the tropical north.


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