Chinchilla Melon Festival
In true Aussie fashion, the Chinchilla Melon Festival started in 1994 to lift the spirits of a drought-stricken community.
Chinchilla is known as the ‘Melon Capital’ of Australia and Melonfest celebrates all things melon. Initially, the festival was only planned as a one-off event, but it became such a hit with locals that it is now held biennially.
Over the years, the festival has grown and attracts visitors from all over Queensland according to Chinchilla Melon festival Secretary Tania Thorton.
“From a crowd of 3000 in 1994 to a crowd of 10,000 in 2009, many visitors see the weekend as a meeting place for family reunions, taking the opportunity to glimpse a rural lifestyle in a fun and exciting way,” she said.
The festival is entirely run by volunteers from the community and Ms Thorton said businesses and community groups love to get involved.
“The festival is a way for the community to showcase Chinchilla and the district using melons as the driver,” she said.
“The committee coordinates the festival and lots of smaller organisations get involved and hold events during the festival to raise much-needed funds.”
There is plenty for everyone to get involved with at Melonfest including trivia nights, a photography comp, melon tasting and the competitive Melon Games.
Competing in the Melon Games is not for the faint hearted. The Melon Dash, Melon Skiing and Melon Chariot Races will separate the real Melon fanatics from the rest.
Profits from each Melon festival go back to the community as well as into the fund for next year’s festivities.
The next Chinchilla Melon festival will be held from 14 – 17 February. Accommodation books out fast so organisers have advised melon lovers to get in quick.