Friday, 14 June 2019

Goomeri Pumpkin Festival

Before we left for our holiday we had been reading one of the caravan magazines and it has a section on what events are on around the country each month.  The only one that lined up with our trip was the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival.  That was rather opportune, as not only was it on our way, the timing was even right.  Add to that, we knew where Goomeri is and had heard of the festival and that it is fun.  Of course we added it to our very loose itinerary as a must do.

So, Goomeri, is a small town of about 650 people, a bit north of Kingaroy, and west of Gympie.  We have friends in that area, so have called into the town several times, even camping in the showground on one previous trip.  It is a lovely little town, with nice antique and other interesting shops.

Apparently, on the day of the festival there was an estimated 17,000 visitors!!!  This is the 23rd year the event has run.  The highway was diverted around the main streets of the town this year for the first time.  It worked really well, from our perspective.

We knew it would be hard to get a camp spot in the town, which is why we stayed at Biggenden the night before, an hour and a half north.  We are so glad we did, as there were caravans and motor homes everywhere in the showground and sports ground.

Any self respecting festival needs a street parade and of course it needs to be led out by a brass band.  We arrived in town just in time to find a possie at the side of the road to enjoy the spectacle.

Here are some highlights.

And a pipe band to bring up the rear.  The parade was really well attended by spectators as well as participants.

After the parade finished it was time to wander around the streets and stalls.

I didn't really take photos of the stalls, but apparently there were about 200!  There was so much to see and do.

There was definitely no excuse to go hungry or thirsty.

We chose to support the local community stalls.  Lamb and pumpkin sausage in a pumpkin bun for me and pumpkin quiche and salad for Mick.

Followed by pumpkin damper and cocky's joy (syrup) for sweets.

The day ended up getting quite hot, so while Mick watched the pig races, I went back to the van and changed into a cool sundress rather than my jeans.  How convenient.

The Fairy God Pumpkin was so cheery throughout the day and was happy to pose for photos.

I think the Toowoomba Morris Dancers would have been rather warm.

They popped up all over the place to perform.

The crowd was happy wandering around and taking it all in.

Naturally, the local shops were making the most of the increased foot traffic.

We can't resist an antique shop.  This one had so many interesting things and at reasonable prices.  There were heaps of lookers (but Mick happened to snap this photo without them) but I'm not sure if there were many buyers.

The aerial artists were good to watch.

The main feature of the afternoon is the Pumpkin Roll held on Policeman's Hill.

Funnily enough, the country Police Station is at the bottom of the hill.

So, how it works......

You pay $10.00 to enter.  You may bring your own pumpkin, or you may purchase one for $3.00. Your entry number is written several times on the pumpkin, to take into consideration that it may get smashed on the way down the hill.

You then roll the pumpkin down the hill and hope it stops in the marked circle at the bottom of the hill (or at least part of the pumpkin does).  If it does, you win $1,000.00.  At the start of this year's event no one had ever won the prize in its history.

Firstly, the kids roll their pumpkins down the hill, and there were lots of kids having a go.

To everyone's delight, an eleven year old boy had his pumpkin land just inside the circle.  You should have heard the cheer go up.

I have it on video, but unfortunately missed getting a photo of it.

Then it was the turn of the adults.

Or should we say "big kids".

Hundreds of pumpkins get rolled down the hill.  Many hit the gutter, some smash, others go too far and believe me, those protective fences are needed.  Some get quite out of control.

Sadly, right towards the end of the event a pumpkin came barreling down the hill and knocked the pumpkin out of the circle. The smallest pumpkin to the left of the circle is the one that had been on target for the prize.  You should have heard the collective moan go up.  Everyone reckoned the prize  still should have been paid out.

The whole thing was a great bit of entertainment.

After the pumpkin roll, everyone started to go home, as it was now after 3 o'clock.

As we walked back to the ute, we noticed that the chainsaw artist had finished his sculpture.  So clever to do this just with a chainsaw.

How empty the streets now looked.  I bet there were a lot of very tired people after the day.  It was a resounding success and we are so pleased that we were able to go along.

We still had a little drive ahead of us to find somewhere to camp, but more on that soon.

Rockhampton to Biggenden

On the morning we were driving out of Rockhampton we were delighted to find they had some markets on in the park.  We hadn't come across any others on our travels.  Of course, we had to have a quick look.

We had a chuckle at the descriptions for the loos at Mt Larcom.  No guessing that you are in cattle country there.

We had a look in an antique shop at one little town (I can't recall where exactly) and I rather liked a couple of framed collections that they had for sale.  I'm not sure if I was to take photos or not, but I did.  I quite like that idea for showcasing some old bits and bobs.  I have plenty of my own, so wasn't in the market for these.  Actually, I have nearly everything that is in this display hidden in drawers and boxes........

We continued down Highway Number 1 through Miriam Vale, to Gin Gin, where we had lunch and took no photos at all.  It's funny that when you have been through somewhere several time you tend not to.

We eventually turned inland where we enjoyed the vista of this lovely hill - Mount Walsh.  It forms the background scenery to the little township of Biggenden.  It is about 100kms west of Maryborough.

I first heard of the town on the radio show Australia All Over when Ian McNamara sang a song "Bigger than Big in Biggenden".  I tried to find it online but found this version by Johnny Chester, which I'm guessing is the original.  It mentions so many places we have visited over the years.

The caravan park was small and lovely and friendly.  We happened to arrive on the day when the park owners host a free casserole night.  It brought everyone together in the camp kitchen area, where we all discussed where to visit, how to improve our vans and how to solve the problems of the world.  A lovely way to spend the evening.

The following morning we went for an explore of the town. Come along with us.

Every second year the town hosts a Rose Festival.  The Biggenden Rose sculpture was created in 2016 and weighs in at about 2 tonnes.

The workmanship is beautiful.

Beside the railway line there is a free camp and another sculpture was added there in 2018. 

For a little town, they are really making an effort to look good and welcome visitors.  Good to see.

We had to get going fairly early, as we had an event we were going to visit on that day.  More soon.