One weekend every year, a small town perched on the edge of the Australian outback sees its population jump from dozens to thousands.
Louth in northwest NSW is usually home to 35, 37 or 43 people - it depends who you ask - and is literally out the back of Bourke, some 800 kilometres west of Sydney.
There's one primary school with four students and an airstrip. But no hospital, no police station and no general store.
The three roads leading in and out are dirt. When it rains, the roads become impassable, leaving locals stranded or trapped.
But on one weekend none of that matters.
The town's annual race meeting, the Louth Races, is on many people's bucket list.
It attracts up to 6000 people every August - most of whom drive for hours down endless red dirt roads to roll out their swags in the dust.
Many who make the trek eke out a living from the land. And as NSW endures a second year of terrible drought the races are a chance to forget reality for a few days.
Even this year's freezing winds whipping up clouds of red earth didn't discourage the crowds.
In fact, the drought has made this year's pilgrimage more important than ever, Louth Turf Club president Jim Strachan told AAP ahead of this year's event.
A "local" since 1982, Jim is candid when it comes to how things are when the air isn't filled with the excitement of the race meeting.
"At the moment it's a bit tough ... (but) the races give everyone a bit of a break, gets everyone together," he says.
"Hopefully it's not going to get tougher."
As the town anxiously waits for rain, Jim says the social impact of the races can't be overstated.
"It gives people something to smile about," he says.
Drought has left its fingerprints all over Louth.
From the dwindling Darling River that runs through town, to the handwritten advert for Hank's Handyman business in the local pub.
The sign is the work of 10-year-old Hank Woodbury, a year 5 student who's also started his own business selling hats he designed.
Hank's mum encourages her children to think outside the box when it comes to earning pocket money as the drought drags on.
"It's one of the rules of living in Louth - working hard," Hank explains. He's saving up for a motorbike - a Honda 125.
The drought means Hank and fellow student Oscar Boede have grown up fast, aware of realities of which other children are blissfully ignorant.
"Last year the river was bone-dry, pure bone, there was no water," Oscar says.
The six-year-old spent the Friday before the races at his school's fete day selling key rings and suncatchers to capitalise on the race crowd.
Like most country towns, the heart of Louth is its pub - Shindy's Inn.
It's where locals meet and swap stories - a balm to the loneliness that comes with living on the land.
The Friday before the races, visitors go from the fete to the pub until it's filled with strangers sharing beers and spinning each other wildly on the dancefloor.
Louth local Patsy Duncan is the daughter of the famous Shindy, the pub's namesake. For a time, she ran the hotel alongside her husband.
Patsy's father-in-law was the first president of the races in 1959 and over the years she's seen firsthand how important they are to those living so far away.
"(Those) in town might have interaction with each other but the ones out (isolated), especially at the moment, we're doing it hard," she told AAP.
"We're a lovely group but we're getting fewer because the young ones get educated and the work isn't here."
While the races are a form of escapism for some, for others it's nothing more than a weekend of wild debauchery.
"It's one of the last frontiers," Patsy laughs.
"It's a bit of an outback legend. You can do anything at Louth as long as you are responsible."
The legend of the races calls out to a cast of colourful characters who begin arriving up to a week in advance, setting up camps that seep into the spaces between the town's few homes and out past its boundaries.
"A lot of campers only see each other once a year and some of them have been coming for nearly 30 years," Jim explains.
Among the crowd's camps, a makeshift flag proclaims one group as "rum runners"; another is home to a ute with wobbling aerials that stretch skyward and bears a tribute to Slim Dusty, while mullets peek out from under battered Akubra hats.
As cars drive down the main road into town on Saturday - race day - a group of young men have perched themselves on a battered couch next to a sign reading "You honk, we drink".
The men are kept busy, as long lines of utes arrive leaving plumes of red dust in their wake.
Thoughts of drought are far from anyone's minds.
"We have terrific crowds ... they're great support," Jim says.
Despite their popularity, the races aren't for everyone.
While local shearer James "Bob" Jones is grateful for what the event brings to his town, he says they leave Louth a bit too "overpopulated".
Bob's spent time working away from Louth but is always drawn back to his hometown.
"It's just the red dust brought me back. The red dust and the river," he says.
The red dust is kicked up once again as thousands of cars begin their trek home on Sunday morning, carrying the weary and hungover.
And like Bob, it's likely that red dust will bring them all back again next year.
Australian Associated Press