Village ready to host best festival yet

Preparations are in their final stages for the 2018 Man from Ironbark Festival to be held on Easter Saturday at Stuart Town.

Stuart Town was formally known as ‘Ironbarks’ as mentioned in Banjo Paterson's poem ‘The Man from Ironbark’. The villages population grows by thousands each year at this annual event and this year’s festival is shaping up to be no different.

Organised and run by the local community group, the Stuart Town Advancement Association Inc. the festival is one of the largest in the district, according to president Marcus Hanney.

“The committee is hard at work with preparations for this year’s event,” Mr Hanney said. “We’re a small volunteer community group that is definitely punching above its weight”.

This year’s festival will feature, for the first time in the Central West of NSW, the ‘Canberra Dragon Dance’ Chinese Dragon & Lions. This group will lead the street parade and perform a special presentation.

“China has a special connection with Stuart Town, because of the villages Gold Rush history, and we’re really excited to have the Chinese Dragons and Lions appear this year” Mr Hanney said.

Paying homage to Banjo Patterson, award winning poets Bob ‘PA’ Kettle and Carol Heuchan will be performing throughout the day.

“Bob was here last year, and Carol the year before and we’re really privileged to have both here this year. Not only will they perform during the day, both will preside over our “Amateur Poetry Competition’, that will be run for the first time this year,” he said.

Up to 150 market stalls will be on hand selling their wears as well as plenty of food stores and displays. There will be various exhibitions, demonstrations and entertainment. A chocolate wheel with some fantastic prizes will also be occurring. The Cobb and Co Stage coach will be on hand for rides and there will be special performances by the Lachlan Living Heritage Group. Helicopter scenic rides will also be available. Pooka the Clown will also be here as well as Buskers who will also be playing throughout the day.

Not to be missed is the Street Parade. This will feature the Chinese Dragons as well as the very popular ‘Ride On Convoy’. This convoy consists of dressed up lawn mowers and was a popular feature last year.

To end the day, popular local entertainer Barry Dickerson, with the help of his friends, will be performing an outdoor concert. This concert, as well as the poetry, will be performed at Moxon Park on the Newley constructed outdoor stage.

’Flowing beards are all the go way up in Ironbark’ so it says in the poem, so fittingly there will be a Man from Ironbark Beard competition being conducted.

“We really do hope to see families take the drive down Burrendong Way and come along to what promises to be a great day,” Mr Hanney said.

“We look forward to seeing everyone as this year promises to be the biggest and best Man from Ironbark Festival and we welcome everyone to our great little village.”

The 2018 Man from Ironbark Festival will be held on Easter Saturday, March 31 at Stuart Town and will start at 9am.