If you followed our list last year and ticked off pumpkin rolling, gypsy dancing and yabby racing, it’s time to fill the 2014 calendar with 14 more way-out, sometimes weird and always wonderful Queensland events!
1. Australia Day Celebrations
26 January, 2014
Barrack for your favourite bug at the annual Story Bridge Cockroach Races in Brisbane. For one day only, this much maligned pest takes centre stage for the festival of all things Australian. Alternately, head up to the Sunshine Coast and go grandstand for the hotly contested Australia Day Dunny Races at the Ettamogah Pub.
2. Gold Coast Renaissance Fair
3-4 May, 2014
Brush the sand off that itsy-bitsy bikini, put on a brocade gown and step back 400 years to a time when merchants, buccaneers, travelling troubadours and royalty met for a festival of gossip and trade. Modelled after the original California Renaissance Pleasure Faire, the Gold Coast Renaissance Faire bridges the romance and pageantry of theatre with sweeping costumes, story telling, puppet shows and traditional food and drink.
3. Pub with No Beer Festival
10 May, 2014
The Pub with No Beer Festival celebrates the true story of a convoy of American soldiers who drank Ingham’s Lees Hotel [then the Day Dawn] dry! When local resident Dan Sheahan rode in for a “coldie” and could only get a warm glass of wine, he was so inflamed he penned “The Pub Without Beer”, a poem which became Slim Dusty’s – and Australia’s – very first world-wide No. 1 smash hit. This year, the 71st anniversary will re-create the scandal complete with an American convoy of military re-enactors and descendants of Dan Sheahan riding to the pub.
4. Golden Gumboot Festival
17 May, 2014
Tully’s reputation as the wettest place in Australia has not dampened the spirit of the local larrikins in this far north Queensland town. The fact that the town gets around 4500mm of rain a year is cause for celebration as festival goers jump into a pair of gumboots and vie for the king of the gumboot games. There’s even a giant golden gumboot in town.
5. Paniyiri Greek Festival
24-25, May 2014
Take a gastronomical tour of Greece without the astronomical air fares at Paniyiri, home to 200,000 honey puffs and 500 kilos of haloumi. Sample treats from the Aegean, mainland Greece, Cyprus, Chios, Crete, Rhodes and more at the 30+ food stalls or join the Greek olive or honey puff eating competitions. Enjoy live entertainment in the form of traditional Greek dancing, plate smashing and a fashion show celebrating Greek designers.
6. Cooktown Discovery Festival
6-9 June, 2014
For 50 years, the people of Cooktown have come together every June to celebrate the arrival of explorer Captain James Cook by staging a fully costumed re-enactment of his landing and his time spent in this tropical paradise with the local Bama (Aboriginal people). Enjoy cannon firing, live music and street theatre.
7. Big Red Run
2-7 July, 2014
Man up for Australia’s first and only 250-kilometre running race, Big Red Run, set in the blistering Simpson Desert. Competitors race 40 kilometres a day through scorching heat, stomp through sinking sand and camp out at night in freezing winter conditions. Not exhausted by the day’s race? There’s evening entertainment and camp-fire cooking by night. Multiple categories are available, ranging from the main 250-kilometre event to a 42-kilometre desert dash.
8. Elvis – Viva Surfers Paradise
12-14 July, 2014
Surfers Paradise will become a sensory swirl of jumpsuits, black leather, blue suede shoes and some of the 20th century’s finest rock ‘n’ roll. The Elvis action will be on the beach and foreshore, in the heart of Surfers and includes the invitation-only Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition, the ‘world series’ for Elvis impersonators (who can actually sing).
9. Curry Merry Muster Festival
1-4 August, 2014
They call it “the Curry”, and there’s no better place to get hot and spicy in the outback than Cloncurry when it fires up for the Curry Merry Muster Festival. This is Cloncurry’s rodeo and it’s known for its heart-racing, adrenalin-pumping, man vs beast action.
10. Morning Glory Festival
19-28 September, 2014
The inaugural Morning Glory Festival will take place in Burketown, in the Gulf of Carpentaria under the the mesmerising cloud formations that roll across the Gulf. Take part in a Morning Glory photographic competition, Gangalidda and Garawa Rangers tours of Moungibi, historical tours, Doomadgee and Mornington Island dance displays, bush food and camp oven cooking demonstrations, and more.
11. Australian Camp Oven Festival
4-5 October, 2014
Keen to stretch your one-pot cooking skills to more than possum stew? Then head off to the Australian Camp Oven Festival on the western fringe of the Darling Downs where experts show you how to whip up brownies, apple turnover and the prized Chelsea Pot in a single iron pot warmed up over scorching coals. In a weekend that celebrates cultural bush heritage, there’s also damper throwing and billy boiling competitions, sheep shearing and a bush poets breakfast.
12. Skydrive Ramblers Post Equinox Boogie
4-12 October, 2014
There’s something slightly scary (or is it squeamish?) about a group of people who celebrate the Spring Equinox by jumping 12,000 feet out of a very small plane. But if your feet are in the drop zone and you’re looking up, then Australia’s largest international freefall festival is also a riot of parachuting colour. Every two years, this skydiving event is held at Toolgoowah near Brisbane and attracts more than 300 skydivers. In addition to the jumps, there’s also music and the Equinox Talent Guest.
13. Opera in the Outback
9-11 October, 2014
Three-hundred-and-fifty clicks south-west of Cairns, the outback hits its highest note as the stars of the Operatic circles travel north for a polished performance in the bush. Held in Undara under the spotlight of a million night stars, Opera in the Outback attracts a cross between music lovers and bush lovers and includes a theatrical performance on Thursday following by two nights of full blown Opera. Pitch a tent, stay in an historic rail carriage or bring your own van and be animated by a touch of bush class.
14. Woodford Folk Festival
December (date TBC), 2014
Rummage through the dress-up box and find your wackiest hat and tie-dye T-shirt for one of the largest folk festivals in the world. Aside from a world-class line-up of musical performances, Woodford Folk Festival also celebrates the secret places and sacred spaces of circus life with cabaret beasts, burlesque empresses, and gypsy tune traders.
Have you been to any of these events before? What was your favourite?