The Great Australian Pumpkin Roll at the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival.
The Great Australian Pumpkin Roll at the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival. Michael Nolan

PHOTO GALLERY: Festival gets small town pumping

MUCH like a runaway pumpkin vine can takeover one's vegie patch, so too did Goomeri Pumpkin Festival spread its tendrils through a small highway town.

The parks and side walks were overflowing with tourist and the town's shop attendants were run off their feet in an effort to satisfy the demand for food and drink.

It's estimated about 17,000 tourists rolled up the festival, providing a much needed injection of cash.

Joe Prendergast owns Joe's Grand Hotel, the Goomeri Bakery and Dusty Hill Winery.

He said all three venues were packed.

"It was just flat out. The festival brings a massive injection of cash, for the week, not just the day.

"I would probably guess we had about 1000 people through the bakery on the Sunday and we sold approximately 2000 items.

"Basically, it's just all hands on deck, we had staff pulling double shifts and all sorts of things.”

The benefit was not contained to hospitality.

Mr Prendergast said the clothing and retail stores all had a good number of customers walk through their doors.

He put the growth in festival numbers down to the committee decision to put events on the Saturday.

"The new committee are trying new things, they tried to push it on the Saturday and the Sunday with things like the night markets.

While the counting hasn't finished, the festival's co-ordinator, Kim Boyter reckoned this year's event had a record number of attendees.

"The feed back we're getting is that it was the best festival we've and the new layout has been a huge success,” she said.

"That's the response from all our stall holders and entertainers.”

All up, about 276 litres of pumpkin soup was sold and about 1000 pumpkins were used in the Great Australian Pumpkin Roll and the Pumpkin Shot Put.

"The response to local business house is that trade over the week it has been very successful but its not only successful for our town,” Mrs Boyter said.

"The wineries and caravan parks at Moffatdale and the caravan park and hotels in the Murgon area, they were jam packed.”

The new committee has the ambitious plan to grow the festival to about 20,000 attendees. However, space is limited and it will have to get creative to reach that target.

One option is to close the highway but it's a big ask.

"To get to that point we are going to need to get support from Gympie Regional Council and the Department of Main Roads to cut the highway,” Mrs Boyter said.

"What we have to do is try and restructure our festival so we can accommodate those people.

"At the moment we don't have any ops on the table, we'll let the dust settle and go into discussions and use their expertise to guide where we go from here.”

South Burnett

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