What happens at Melonfest doesn't stay at Melonfest!
Here's what happened when I visited the Chinchilla Watermelon Festival for the weekend to slip, slide and spit watermelon. It's on again from Thursday, February 16 to 19.
Turn back the clock to 2013. I'm staying on Heeney Street (they got the spelling wrong there), and I'll be having a four-course melon only dinner.
They are keeping the menu a secret but there are hints that an oyster shucker has been brought in from Mooloolaba to do watermelon oysters and there's some watermelon semifreddo setting in the fridge.
Chinchilla is the ‘Melon Capital’ of Australia. For four days (Feb 14 -17) they’ll be skiing, slipping, sliding and spitting watermelons across a range of family-friendly events and activities as part of the 11th Chinchilla Melon Festival.
The bi-annual event draws crowds in excess of 10,000 who migrate to the Queensland town, located 308km North West of Brisbane, to join in the watermelon-themed festivities.
Crowd favourites include melon skiing, melon Ironman, pip-spitting championships, melon power-punching, melon eating competitions, the big melon weigh-in (previous winners tipped the scales at a massive 87.5kgs) and the melon food hall.
First held in 1994 as a celebration of the town’s melon growing prowess, which accounts for almost a quarter of Australia’s watermelons, the one-of-a-kind festival has steadily grown in size and popularity over the years.
Here's my highlights
• 3pm Big Melon weigh in. I'll be watching carefully as for the past three festivals the big melon has been stolen or hidden. That's country humour but not everyone is smiling. The biggest Melon has weighed in at 87.5kgs.
• 3.30pm Melon cooking demonstration with local Chef Michael Smith
• 6.30pm Four Course Melon Only Dinner at the Chinchilla Palms Motor Inn
• Saturday morning - the Make it, bake it Sew it markets which has a range of watermelon infused items to eat and buy.
• 10.30 official opening of the festival with a watermelon parade on Heeney Street.
• Following this is the melon events - Pip spitting, melon bungy, the Melon Dash for Cash and more which are the real fun around the event.
Disclaimer: EdbK was a guest of Tourism Queensland