Colour Up Karoonda: silos become SA's biggest art exhibition space | PHOTOS, VIDEO

With the flick of a switch, Karoonda's silos have become South Australia's largest exhibition space.

Thousands descended on the Mallee town on Sunday to see its unique silo artwork - a projection, featuring a Karoonda-themed animation and works by local artists - fire up for the first time.

Camera phones clicked and country music filled the air as children played, their parents inspected market stalls and families ate under the stars.

The big reveal and street party were the culmination of $1 million in federal drought spending in the Karoonda East Murray district, funding which also provided for a main street upgrade and a new childcare centre.

However, one more step is still to come: artist Heesco Khosnaran will soon start work on a mural which will complement the projection, with merino sheep, a kelpie working dog, a bush setting and a steam train framing the illuminated area.

Mayor Caroline Phillips said the silo artworks would attract visitors to the area and give them a reason to stay overnight, creating revenue for the local economy.

The child care centre would do the same by helping stay-at-home parents return to work, she said.

She thanked the government for the money and the council's staff for ensuring it could be spent before a June 30 deadline.

No amount of money could end a drought, federal MP Tony Pasin said, but he hoped the funding provided would still help the community.

"Five days a week of childcare for this community is one of the ways we can drought-proof it," he said.

"That child care facility will ensure off-farm income for more families."

State MP Adrian Pederick said the celebration showed that good things could be achieved even in tough times.

"Let's just hope, with the rain we've had this week, these silos can be full to overflowing," he said.

"There's nothing like a bit of rain to put a bit of heart into farmers, their families and the whole district.

"People in the Mallee ... you've done it tough but you always rise to the occasion."

The projection will be shown between sunset and 9pm each night for the next month.