Wacky and weird events in Queensland to try this year
Itching to shot put a pumpkin? Juggle avocados? Want to don your best dress for country camel races or 60s swing? Then mark your calendar and make it your mission to tick off these slightly wacky and weird events in Queensland this year.
If you’re looking for a new experience, you’re in luck.
Sand Safari Arts Festival | Surfers Paradise
When: 14 February – 1 March 2020
Swap the gallery for the beach at Sand Safari Arts Festival, where larger-than-life sculptures add to Surfers’ iconic coastline. Watch the artworks as they develop, with the artists of Australian Sand Sculpting Championships creating their pieces day by day.
For sculptures of a different kind, Swell Sculpture Festival will return to Currumbin on 11-20 September 2020.
Roma’s Easter in the Country | Roma
WHEN: 9-13 April 2020
Ready to carry your wife over the finish line? Leave the eggs at home and make your way to Roma for wife carrying championships, cart racing and mud derby. There’s plenty of action to keep the whole family thrilled, with a rodeo, parade, horse races and live music too!
Goomeri Pumpkin Festival | Goomeri
WHEN: 31 May 2020
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.
Cooly Rocks On | Gold Coast
WHEN: 3-7 June 2020
Dolls don your polka dot dresses, guys slick your hair with Brylcreem, because the Cooly Rocks On is back. Celebrate the good ol’ days in true 50’s and 60’s fashion with Rock’n’Roll, vintage cars and lots of dancing.
Get nostalgic and watch as the beachside streetscape of iconic Coolangatta transform into a time capsule. Complete with outdoor stages, live music and a signature street parade, you’ll soon be twisting your hips like they did back then.
Mary Poppins Festival | Maryborough
WHEN: 27 June – 4 July 2020
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!
Abbey Medieval Festival| Caboolture
WHEN: 11-12 July 2020
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 among the colourful encampments and fine re-enactments.
Boulia Camel Races | Boulia
WHEN: 17-18 July 2020
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.
Can’t make it all the way to Boulia? Get your fix of culture, camels and camping at Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Races on 30 July – 1 August. Tara is just two hours west of Toowoomba!
Jumpers and Jazz Festival | Warwick
WHEN: 16-26 July 2020
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!
Hervey Bay Whale Festival | Hervey Bay
WHEN: 25 July – 9 August 2020
Recently named the world’s first Whale Heritage Site, Hervey Bay is the best spot to have a whale encounter as thousands of humpback whales migrate along Australia’s east coast from June – November. And to experience it a little differently (and with a lot of community spirit), visit for the eclectic Hervey Bay Whale Festival.
Celebrate the beginning of whale season with The Blessing of the Fleet, take a front row seat for the Whale Parade, then grab your paddle board, kayak or novelty floaty to join the Paddle Out for Whales. This moving event sees the town take to the water for a minute’s silence and song to honour the whales and their significance to the region.
Gemfest ‘Festival of Gems’ | Queensland Outback
WHEN: 6-7 August 2020
Over four sparkling days, gem enthusiasts can admire, purchase and learn about these unique treasures of the outback. See diamonds, pearls, zircons and opals in real life and up close. The kids will enjoy the fireworks and entertainment on the last night of the festival too.
Blackbutt Avocado Festival | Southern Queensland Country
When: 12 September 2020
We’re pretty mad for avocados in Queensland. But you can take it a step further than your breakfast and join the official celebration in the rural town of Blackbutt.
Rather than spread it, you’ll toss, drop, roll and juggle your avos in a series of competitions. Win or lose, make sure you stick around for the markets, food and wine alley, live music – and avocado dress up competition.
Beach Motorcycle Races | Mackay
When: 13 September 2020
Forget the rush of catching a wave. How about the sound of hundreds of motorcycles racing down the sands of Grasstree Beach?
Started back in 1927, the Beach Motorcycle Races is the only competitive beach motorcycle race in Australia, and one of only several in the world. And nowadays it attracts over 300 riders and drawing 5,000 spectators for a thrilling day on the beach. There’s 13 classes of racing: juniors, seniors, quad bikes and street bikes – plus markets, family activities and those postcard worthy views.
Here are a few more things to do while you’re here.