GOING AHEAD: Date set for Pumpkin Festival‘s 25th year
Attracting up to 20,000 festival-goers, Goomeri’s Pumpkin Festival is set to return in May this year, injecting crucial funds into the small town‘s economy.
As a result of coronavirus, the 2020 event was cancelled, however, its return will mark the 25th anniversary with everything from pumpkin rolling competitions to town parades.
Event co-ordinator Kim Boyter said they are still awaiting the all-clear from Queensland Health, however, are preparing to run the event.
“We have spent many hours creating a COVID safe plan and submitting it to Queensland Health and the biggest worry for us is the waiting and not knowing,” Mrs Boyter said.
“We are planning the event as normal so when a positive response comes back it’s much easier to go ahead.”
The Goomeri Pumpkin Festival is estimated to inject over two million dollars into the South Burnett economy.
“It’s the one and only event in our town and in 2019 it was calculated the event injected $2.6 million into the local economy,” Mrs Boyter said.
“In 2020 COVID struck and in reality, our town has not had that economic stimulus for 18 months.
“We rely on return trade and our festival creates visitors who come for that weekend, but then come back again because they loved the atmosphere.”
The event was created in 1997 as a way to promote the town and boost the town‘s morale during one of the most severe droughts in recent history.
A group of dedicated and determined local people and local farmers came up with the idea to create an event to lift community spirits, deciding to roll pumpkins down a hill.
What started out as rolling pumpkins down a hill has gone from strength to strength according to Mrs Boyter.
“Pumpkin rolling is the trademark event and second to that is the huge show parade, which is the second most iconic component of the festival,” she said.
“We also have vintage cars on display, a pumpkin snatch wheelbarrow competition, pumpkin shot put, pumpkin bowels and this year we will be introducing smashing pumpkins.
“There is also a giant pumpkin competition and a decorated pumpkin competition.”
Each year the pumpkins are supplied by local pumpkin farmers, however, due to harsh weather conditions, 2020 forced the organisers to outsource pumpkins.
Mrs Boyter said thankfully the local grower will be able to supply this year‘s pumpkins.
“There is only one local pumpkin grower left in town so he supplies all the pumpkins,” she said.
“The event benefits every business in town, if not during the event, that repeat trade of people coming back just to stop in Goomeri definitely benefits the whole town.”
The Gympie Regional Council has also donated $50,000 towards the festival.
The 2021 Goomeri Pumpkin Festival is scheduled to take place on May 30.