NEARLY 6000 visitors and locals enjoyed the Merriwa Rosto Festival of the Fleeces over the long weekend.
Upper Hunter Shire mayor Wayne Bedggood said it was a terrific event.
“The crowd, entertainment and the organisation was fantastic,” he admitted.
“The town was looking beautiful despite the drought and there has been great feedback from visitors.
“I congratulate the festival committee, all the volunteers and council staff on a job well done.”
The biggest event was on Saturday beginning with an Acknowledgment of Country by Tarnisha Windsor, the always-popular dog high jump, hundreds of market stalls and plenty of entertainment and displays.
At noon, 100 sheep in red socks led the parade through town encouraged by Alan Wright and his daughter Angela and a cheering crowd.
Classic cars and machinery, and colourful Merriwa community floats followed.
In its 28th year the festival continues to celebrate the Upper Hunter’s rural and agricultural heritage including sheep farming.
Window Display –
The town decorations were magic themed with a display in Landmark Townsend by Merriwa Create and Grow Playgroup winning first prize in the window decorations competition. Second prize went to Di’s Clothing Patch and runners up were Eat@153 and Max’s Cross Country decorated by students of Merriwa Central School.
The top parade entry was the Merriwa Preschool and Activity Centre, followed by St Joseph’s Primary School and last year’s winners, the Merriwa Springtime Show float.
Bush Poets –
On Sunday morning, 60 people attended the Bush Poets Breakfast compered by Peter Mace. First prize for Best Original Poem went to Caroline Maxfield and for presentation of someone else’s poem to Wendy Seddon in the Open category. Locals Tina Taylor won for best original poem and Joel Whaley for his recitation.
Colouring in –
Infants: Hazel Chin; Thomas McLean; Archie Constable
Pre-school: Isabella Campbell; Jacob Sawley; Heidi Lucas
Primary: Lily Swan; Rily Boradaile; Mia Jacobs
Open: Andrew of Sandy Hollow; Jayden Birtles; Thomas Campbell
Festival Pam Powers Award winner for 2018 went to Hilton Cronin, a dedicated member of the organising committee who is always willing to give a hand.
The award is presented in memory of Pam Power, mayor of the former Merriwa Shire Council, and one of the founders of the Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces in 1990.
Chair of the Festival of the Fleeces Committee councillor Ron Campbell said the organising committee had done a great job bringing together a variety of family-friendly activities and entertainment.
“Monies raised from the Festival are donated to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and the Merriwa Volunteer Rescue Association who provide essential services in the region,” he said.
“Thanks to all the supporters and sponsors – including 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.”