Popular festival celebrates Merriwa’s rich wool heritage on June long weekend

IT’S only a month until the Rosto Festival of the Fleeces, when thousands of visitors experience Merriwa’s country hospitality and rural heritage.

There are red socks to wash, sheep to shear, shop windows and parade entries to decorate, and quilts to be hung. 

Dogs, big and small, are practicing their high jumps and bush poets are rehearsing their rhymes.

The “Magic of Country” is the theme in this 28th year, from June 8 to 10, with the Festival Opening Night featuring a Family Magic Show with magician Amazing Christo. 

Tickets for the opener are on sale now at the Merriwa Visitor Information Centre (VIC).

Saturday kicks off from 8am with street stalls, demonstrations of shearing, wool spinning, working sheep dogs, and damper with cockies joy and billy tea, vintage vehicles, pipes and drums, quilt display, dog high jump, Kids’ Corner, rides and sideshow alley. 

There’s also a new talent show “Flock of Stars” where you can watch local performers while grabbing a bite in the food court – don’t miss the CWA baked goodies.

The highlight is the noon parade led by a flock of 200 sheep in red socks down the main street of Merriwa.

Also on the Saturday there is team penning at the Merriwa Showground all day, as well as a sheep poo spitting competition, gum boot throwing and lolly scramble in the afternoon and Ka-Boom Fireworks at 6pm.

Sunday has more team penning, a “blessing of the fleece” service at the Holy Trinity Church and the Bush Poets Breakfast at 8am, with $500 in prizes for budding bush poets and a hearty breakfast for all for just a $5 donation at the door.

The festival celebrates Merriwa’s rich wool heritage since the 1830s and offers a genuine country experience.

Upper Hunter Shire Council is proud to be a long-time sponsor of the event, giving much behind the scenes support through its VICs.

The chair of the Festival of the Fleeces Committee, councillor Ron Campbell, said the organising committee had done a great job.

“We’re hoping for clear skies for the June long weekend, which will be packed with all the fun and family entertainment of Merriwa’s biggest event,” he explained.

“The festival raises funds for the Volunteer Rescue Association and Westpac Rescue Helicopter. 

“Our thanks to all the supporters and sponsors - Rosto Olives; Ka-Boom Fireworks; LD Campbell Pty Ltd.; Merriwa Tourist Welcoming Centre & Men’s Shed; Merriwa Petroleum & Ag Supplies; Country Women’s Association; Royal Hotel Merriwa; IGA Merriwa plus Liquor; Merriwa Pharmacy; Merriwa Newsagency; BP Service Station; Eat @ 153; Taronga Western Plains Zoo; Discovery Parks; GJs by the Lake; Anglican Parish of Merriwa; St Davids Uniting Church; St Anne’s Catholic Parish; RM Property & Livestock; Osmond’s Pumps; M Nutt Contracting; Merrifield Farm; Martins Stock Haulage; Welderup; Merriwa Veterinary Surgery; Russell’s Earthmoving; Merriwa Tyre and Service Centre; Lenore’s Quilting; Shooters Association; Jake Macintyre; Merriwa Sports Club; Craig Macpherson Haulage; Merriwa Ringer; Max's Country Meats; Eva Towler; and Jenny Johnson.”

Pick up your Rosto Festival of the Fleeces program, available at the Merriwa and Scone VICs or on the website www.festivalofthefleeces.com.au and Facebook.