12,000 attend Goomeri Pumpkin Fest
FROM little seeds, big pumpkins grow, and from little ideas, big events, like the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival, grow.
Now in its 14th year, the award-winning annual event saw a crowd of more than 12,000 descend on the tiny rural hamlet of Goomeri - usual population 450 - for a rollicking good time.
Festival organiser Glenda Harch said because the event was free, numbers were hard to guess, but visitors far exceeded last year's record crowd.
"You couldn't move - it was chockers," a delighted Mrs Harch said.
"It was a lovely sunny day and a great crowd."
What started out as a morale boost for the town during a particularly bad year of drought is now number 24 in RACQ's Must Do's in Queensland, increasing in popularity year after year.
Gympie girl Rebecca Millman beat 679 keen contenders in the festival's signature event, the Great Australian Pumpkin Roll, taking home a very handy $350 in prize money.
"She was over the moon," Mrs Harch said. As to what makes a champion pumpkin roller, it comes down to a well-shaped pumpkin, a good roll and a whole lot of luck.
People come from all over Australia to experience the thrill of rolling pumpkins down Policeman's Hill and participate in a raft of pumpkin-centric activities.
Busloads of tourists descend on Goomeri to make a day of it, and campers are turning up earlier and earlier to make a holiday of it.
"They used to turn up on Friday, then Thursday, now people are starting to come in on the Monday to spend the week in Goomeri," Mrs Harch said.
"We have lots of inquiries about what else is there to do because they want to come up for a few days."
Proceeds from the festival are distributed back into the community and various charities.