Over the last decade, the Walcha Mountain Festival has evolved from a modest one-day event held at the Walcha Showground to an eclectic two-day mix of mountain biking, food, fashion and family fun.
The festival began as a celebration for those completing the Ride the Rim, a fundraising race for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service started by paramedic Shane Paul in 2005.
“The ride has now become the Walcha Westpac Rescue Mountain Bike Challenge, and its primary purpose is to raise awareness of the service, have fun on the bikes, socialise and enjoy the beautiful scenery Walcha and the course have on offer, “ said Westpac Rescue Service Community Liaison Officer Michael Wilson.
“I would say the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service has completed approximately 100 missions in Walcha during the last 16 years. Over the past decade, the ride has raised over $65,000 with all these funds helping to ensure that no one ever has to pay for the service.”
The Westpac Rescue Mountain Bike Challenge is now just one element of what has become a two-day festival in Walcha which brings visitors from across the region to the town.
“Many things have changed since the festival began all those years ago, both with the bike rides and the festivities that accompany them,” said Walcha Tourism Officer Susie Crawford.
“Initially the event was just focussed on the ride on Sunday, now there is a ride and a billy cart derby on Saturday both of which are in their fourth year and coincide with the monthly farmers market.
Ms Crawford said the festival on Sunday has also diversified in recent years.
“It has grown in the past three years with the property Langford now playing host,” she said. “More vintage car and motorbike clubs come along with their spectacular vehicles, we have model boats motoring around the Langford Lake and Langford Homestead guided tours run hourly.”
Fashionistas, gourmands and children are all catered for according to Ms Crawford.
“A quilt exhibition which runs over both days, and the Australian Wool Fashion Awards (AWFA) bring amazing new garments to parade each year,” she said.
“If you just want to relax under the shade of a tree and enjoy the live entertainment, quality market and food stalls are available. There’s also an outdoor rock-climbing wall and free kids activities.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.