Chinchilla, Australia’s ‘Melon Capital’ lies at the heart of Queensland’s Western Downs, about 300km north-west of Brisbane, and produces about 25 per cent of the country’s melons including watermelon, rockmelon and honeydew.
Once every two years, in February, the town hosts a week-long festival to celebrate the humble melon, drawing an estimated 17,000 visitors in 2017, up from 2500 in 1994 when the festival began.
The program of entertainment during the week leading up to the main show day includes a trivia and fancy dress night; an art competition that saw artist Dion Cross take out the sculpture prize with “A Slice of Chinchilla” (scrap metal welded into a giant watermelon); and a lunch with former Governor-General Quentin Bryce.
Then the excitement ramps up with the Melon Big Bash – a night match of 20/20 cricket - a Melon Rodeo, and a street Beach Party.
But the main event is the Big Melon Weigh-In, held on the Friday afternoon. Growers from around the district bring their best and biggest product to be weighed.
With melons starting at 31kg, the 2017 winner was a 75kg stunner. The record was set in 2007 and sits at 87.5kg.
Market stalls, a Grand Parade, a Poet’s Breakfast, the Melon Dash for Cash, Melon Bungee, Melon Skiing, Melon Tug-o-War, Melon Pip Spitting, Melon Chariot Race and Melon Ironman/woman keep the crowds entertained over the weekend.
The next Chinchilla Melon Fest will be held in 2019. You’ll be spitting pips if you miss it!
Where: Chinchilla, Qld
When: 14-17 February, 2019
More info: melonfest.com.au