The Chinchilla Melon Festival is a wild week of melon-themed event that culminate in the hilarious Melon Games. Visitors provide the entertainment as they participate in the many competitions taking place including melon skiing, the melon toss, pip spitting, melon bungee, and melon iron man races.
Melons are no stranger to Chinchilla, where the first commercially grown melon was produced in the late 1950s. The district now produces 25% of the approximate 217,000 tonnes of melons grown in Australia each year.
The Melon Festival began in 1994 with the aim of attracting visitors to the town and to lift the spirits of a drought stricken community. After the success of the initial festival another followed in 1995 and then biennially on the third Saturday in February.
Each successive festival has attracted increased numbers of visitors, sponsorship and media exposure. From a crowd of 3000 in 1994 to a crowd of 10,000 in 2009, many visitors see the weekend as a meeting place for family reunions, taking the opportunity to glimpse a rural lifestyle in a fun and exciting way.
All accommodation is booked out months in advance, with some people booking two years ahead so they don’t miss out on the fun. Local businesses, community groups and a legion of volunteers have ensured the success of each festival.
The end of one Melon Festival sees an immediate start to the planning process for the next – how can the next Chinchilla Melon Festival be bigger and better than the last?