The Rosto Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces attracted record crowds this June long weekend to enjoy the biggest event in the festival’s 26 year history. Thousands of visitors and locals experienced the diverse attractions celebrating the importance of wool and the Upper Hunter’s special rural heritage.
Upper Hunter Shire Mayor Wayne Bedggood said the atmosphere was fantastic and congratulated the festival committee and the wider community on bringing together a variety of fun and interesting events over the weekend.
Kamilaroi elder Aunty Rosalind gave the Welcome to Country.
The festival highlight was the street parade led out by the Rosto Running of the Sheep in red socks. Hundreds of Dohne Merino Sheep donated by Upper Hunter Shire Councillor Ron Campbell, were led out by local pet sheep Angas and Tristan Telfer, ahead of a colourful parade of businesses, school and community groups.
Congratulation to our 2016 parade competition winners!
St Joseph’s Primary School for their sheep sculpture and Alex and Tracey Clements for their classic car, a 1961 Corvette.
Judges comments: ‘The 1961 Corvette was very well restored. Stood out amongst the other cars”.
“St Joseph’s made a real effort with costuming, well themed which had a great impact on the crowd.”
POST PARADE FUN ON BETTINGTON STREET & SHOWGROUNDS
After the parade, the crowd enjoyed shearing and working sheep dog demonstrations, quilt and knitting exhibitions, Roar Petting Zoo, Croc Starts Reptile Show, the Waste Wrappers Show, team penning and fireworks at the Merriwa Showground.
The Dog high jump competition is always exciting, with the large dog competition achieving a winning height of 207cm and the small dog class 70cm.
Gum boot throwing saw some future champions, 6 years and under – Degan threw the boot 8.51m; 7 -12 years – Lachlan threw 20.21m; and 13 years and over – Elojah achieved 27.75 m.
‘Sheep poo’ spitting contest: 6 years and under – Mia propelled the jelly bean 1.4m; 7 -12 years – Braith spat 5.9m; and 13 years and over – Alex achieved 4.6m.