12 wacky and weird events to try this year
I bet I can guess what’s topping your list of goals for 2017. Who hasn’t thought, ‘I’m just itching to strap watermelons on my feet and race down a sheet of tarp!’? And how often have you said to your mates, ‘I know what to do this weekend! Let’s go watch Nannies race each other pushing prams?
Well, you’re in luck my friend, because in Queensland we not only breed em’ tough, we also breed em’ fantastically flamboyant and quirky as hell.
Mark your calendar and make it your mission to tick off these weird events and quirky Queensland celebrations this year.
AUSTRALIA DAY CELEBRATIONS
26 JANUARY, 2017 – SUNSHINE COAST
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 Aussie World.
CHINCHILLA MELON FESTIVAL
16-19 FEBRUARY, 2017 – CHINCHILLA
It’s all out melon war at Queensland’s quirkiest fruitiest festival in Chinchilla, where melon-smashing, melon-skiing and melon-eating are the order of the day. The population of the town swells, and so does the February heat, so it’s fortunate there’s plenty of refreshing watermelon on hand to enjoy.
THE GREAT WHEELBARROW RACE
19-21 MAY, 2017 – MAREEBA
This grueling 140-kilometre race is designed to honour the pioneering miners of the early 19th century, as competitors race each other and run over hilly terrain from Mareeba to Chillagoe for up to nine hours at a time… you guessed it – pushing wheelbarrows. Over 450 competitors will join this event decked out in costumes to raise funds for local charities and small communities. And you thought an egg and spoon race was tough.
GOOMERI PUMPKIN FESTIVAL
28 MAY, 2017 – GOOMERI
Proving there’s a whole lot more to this humble vegetable than meets the eye, Queensland’s pumpkin capital comes alive each year for this wacky festival. Hurtle your pumpkin down Policeman’s Hill in their signature event, the Great Australian Pumpkin Roll, show your strength in the Pumpkin Power Shot Put and enter in the many other novelty pumpkin events. Oh, the fresh pumpkin scones are worth the drive, too.
MARY POPPINS FESTIVAL
23 JUNE – 2 JULY, 2017 – MARYBOROUGH
You won’t need a spoonful of sugar to swallow this fun-filled event. Mary Poppins’ author, Pamela Travers, was born in Maryborough and the city celebrates its link to the iconic nanny with the world’s only Mary Poppins Festival. Picture this: Nannies race each other pushing prams in the Great Nanny Challenge; chimney sweeps battle it out in the Chimney Sweep Dash while Mary Poppins characters come to life and mingle with the crowd. Supercalifragilistic fun for everyone!
VIVA SURFERS PARADISE
7-16 JULY, 2017 – GOLD COAST
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).
ABBEY MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL
8-9 JULY, 2017 – CABOOLTURE
Anyone for Turkish oil wrestling? Bring your merry men to Caboolture and step back in time at The Abbey Medieval Festival to discover jousting and falconry, watch combatants taking up armour in front of the castle, enjoy gypsy dancing and gorge on medieval cuisine and fine mead. Dive into time past amongst the colourful encampments and fine re-enactments.
BOULIA CAMEL RACES
14-16 JULY, 2017 – BOULIA
Giddy up! If you’ve never seen a camel race, Boulia is the place to be. The tiny outback town bursts at the seams with around 3000 people making the pilgrimage to watch the hotly contested Camel Cup races. Away from the track, there are camel rides, skydivers, belly dancers, market stalls and live music to keep you entertained.
JUMPERS AND JAZZ FESTIVAL
20-30 JULY, 2017 – WARWICK
When the temperature drops in Warwick, the people get rugged up in crazy crochet outfits and artists dress the trees in woolly ‘tree jumpers’ of all shapes, colours and sizes. Bring your knitting needles or crochet hooks and settle in to enjoy a program of jazz events in the local cafes and parks – spontaneous creativity is encouraged at this quirky winter festival!
CURRY MERRY MUSTER FESTIVAL
3-6 AUGUST 2017 – CLONCURRY
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.
19-23 SEPTEMBER, 2017 – WINTON
From yabbies to the ol’ outhouse, aka dunny (aka outback toilet for you non-Aussies), the wacky racing continues at the Outback Festival in Winton. The Australian Dunny Derby is the feather in the cap of this action-packed weekend, with an Outback Ironman race, bush poet’s breakfast, strongman challenges, and bushman’s egg throwing also on the agenda.
AUSTRALIAN CAMP OVEN FESTIVAL
6-7 OCTOBER, 2018 – MILLMERRAN
Are you planning ahead and 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.