The Chinchilla Melon Festival will celebrate its silver anniversary at this year’s event in February. Every second-year tourists from all over Australia and the world flock to Chinchilla as the small township celebrates the region’s primary produce, watermelons.
In 1994 the idea of a melon-inspired festival was dreamt up to celebrate the farming reputation of the region and lift the spirits of the drought-stricken community. In November last year, the town won a competition to host Australia’s next Big Thing, putting Chinchilla on the map with a four tonne Big Melon. Mayor Paul McVeigh said that this year’s festival will be extra special thanks to the arrival of the Big Melon. “The Big Melon will be a definite draw-card for tourists this year,” he said. “Having made international headlines, we’re sure that people will be eager to come to Chinchilla and get a photo with the Melon, stay for the festival and really experience the melon madness for themselves,” Mayor McVeigh said.
Vice President of the Chinchilla Melon Festival Committee Darryl O’Leary said that in its 25th year, the 2019 Melon Fest promises to be bigger and better than ever. “The Big Melon has been the pinnacle of what we have strived to do for the last 25 years. It reinforces that the Chinchilla Melon Festival is one of the greatest event to be held on the Western Downs. “We are expecting more than 15,000 people across the four days of Melon fun.” Melon skiing, chariot racing, bungee battles, pip-spitting contests and iron-man competitions are just a few of the sticky activities on offer at the Melon Fest, as well as a Beach Party and Street Parade for those who prefer a cleaner approach to festivities.
But the region’s celebrations won’t stop with the Melon Fest, in March the Chinchilla Botanic Parklands are set to be opened to the public. The 5.9 million-dollar project, co-funded by the Western Downs Regional Council and the Queensland Government, features a melon-themed water-park, a mega-fauna discovery area and an amphitheatre, as well as the botanic garden that will showcase the unique diversity of the region’s horticulture.
Read more about the Big Melon in our story, One in a Melon.