Ethan Murphy from Yuleba on the mini melon ski ramp.
Ethan Murphy from Yuleba on the mini melon ski ramp. Alasdair Young

Chinchilla Melon Festival smashes record

VISITORS travelled from across Australia and even the other side of the world to help smash the world-famous Chinchilla Melon Festival's attendance record at the weekend.

Early estimates suggest more than 15,000 people attended the event, effectively tripling the town's population and breaking the previous record of roughly 12,000 people.

Visitors were keen to try their hand at a host of juicy events unique to the festival, including melon skiing, melon bungy, and the melon ironman and ironwoman races.

About 20 tonnes of melons were used throughout the weekend, with about five tonnes ending up in the bellies of hungry revellers.

Chinchilla Melon Festival president Doug McNally said organisers were still "in awe" at the scale of this year's event.

"That was our biggest event by at least a few thousand people," he said.

"It's not often there are traffic jams in Chinchilla, but it was gridlocked around town on Friday afternoon."

The huge crowd saw the attendance record for the festival's street parade smashed on Saturday morning and the crowd hung around all day for melon events and then for a free family concert on Saturday night.

The concert was a sweet homecoming for X Factor runner-up Dean Ray, who attended school at Chinchilla.

Country superstars McAlister Kemp finished off the show, in what has been described as possibly their last performance together as a band.

The festival's "founding father" and first president, Fred Ainsworth OAM, was one of the first to put to bed rumours that the festival might be in its final years.

Mr Ainsworth told the packed street parade crowd that the festival's success at the weekend would ensure it would come back "stronger and harder" for many years to come.

- CHINCHILLA NEWS


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