Four members of the eight man ‘Pumpkings’ team from Stafford in Brisbane … the group are regular competitors at Goomeri’s Pumpkin Festival and received a standing ovation for their stylish headgear

June 2, 2015

Goomeri’s Pumpkin Festival celebrated its 19th birthday this year, and its mascots may well be men who wear pumpkins on their heads.

The eight man ‘Pumpkings’ team received a standing ovation when they arrived at the top of Policeman’s Hill on Sunday afternoon wearing their distinctive pumpkin helmets and team T-shirts.

After being mobbed by photographers and autograph seekers, team members joined the lengthy queues of pumpkin rollers to patiently await their turn.

The group, which is based at Stafford in Brisbane, has enjoyed five wins in the festival’s Pumpkin Pull competition over the years. Members have also notched up wins in the Great Australian Pumpkin Roll in 2013 and 2014.

But last year – much to the surprise of many fans – they failed to make it three in a row.

“The Roll is elusive,” a Pumpkings spokesman Dave Elser explained.

“Many factors come into play in a perfect roll. You have to consider crowd numbers, humidity, temperature, wind shear, shifts in the Earth’s magnetic field … even the international geopolitical situation can exert an effect.

“Our team members try to take all these things into consideration when we roll our pumpkins.

“But it’s harder than it looks.”

The Pumpkings were among hundreds of rollers who took their chance at this year’s Festival, which drew an estimated crowd of more than 12,000 to a town that normally boasts a population of less than 800.

Market stalls and roving entertainers filled the CBD, and during the day festival-goers were able to enjoy a jam-packed program of entertainment in Dickinson Park which ranged from cooking demonstrations to country music, and indigenous dancing to whip-cracking.

There were also lots of pumpkin games including pumpkin shot-put, the Pumpkin Pull and pumpkin bowls; a decorated pumpkin competition; and giant pumpkins on display at the Hall Of Memory.

A Heritage and Outback Street Parade in the morning set a light-hearted mood; and music from top guitarist Phil Emmanuel, Pop Standen and their friends, who were playing at Joe’s Grand Hotel, wafted over the CBD all day.

Festival organisers said they were delighted by this year’s turnout, which was up on last year.

An estimated 600 caravanners also came to Goomeri for the Festival.

This not only provided a significant economic boost for the town, but should do the same for neighbouring towns over the coming week as the caravanners continued their journeys north or south.

As is now traditional practice, the Great Australian Pumpkin Roll was launched by the Gympie Mayor … this year, Mick Curran.

He was assisted by Gympie Region’s longest-serving female councillor, Julie Walker from Widgee, and its two latest recruits: former Kilkivan Shire CEO Ray Currie and former school teacher Bob Leitch, from Gympie.

Gympie Cr Julie Walker, Mayor Mick Curran and new Crs Ray Currie and Bob Leitch prepare to kick things off in this year’s Great Australian Pumpkin Roll
Celebrity chefs Glen Barratt, Matt Golinski and Jason Ford limber up for the Chef’s Roll

Al and Lizzy the Desert Red Emu delighted the crowd in Moore Street

Rob Patch, from The Peanut Van, had a busy time at his Dickinson Park stall
The Wakka Gubbi Dancers, from Cherbourg, entertained the crowd with traditional dancing
Chefs Matt Golinski and Jason Ford gave cooking demonstrations throughout the day
Dickinson Park was packed with stall holders and crowds of festival-goers; the same applied to Boonara Street, and on Moore Street stalls stretched all the way from Dickinson Park to the service station on the other side of town

Some Festival-goers dressed up especially for the day in a pumpkin theme

Tallyn Uttley, from Gympie, made friends with a Pumpkin Festival camel
Pumpkin rollers joined lengthy queues for their chance at winning the Great Australian Pumpkin Roll …
… but not all rollers were pleased with the performance of their pumpkins
Keeping everyone safe: St Johns Ambulance members, at back, John Gilsheovan, Ruth Blunderfield and Terry Clark; front, Dani Hodson, Beatrice Au Yang and Shannon Robinson

CROW-FM’s Chantal Harth and Shaz Birkett prepare for the Sponsors’ Roll …

… and earlier, Chantal and Corky Corcoran manned the CROW-FM van in Moore Street
Phil Emmanuel and Pop Standen played to a standing room-only crowd at Joe’s Grand Hotel

* * *

Great Australian Pumpkin Roll

Adult Roll:
1. Steven Larter (Upper Kedron)
2. Samuel Stubbs (Nanango)

1. Cory McGregor (Kallangur)
2. Brock Smith

Pumpkin Power Shot Put

Men’s Open:
Ryan Biddle 21.69m

Women’s Open:
Kelly Manley 11.48m

14 years & Under:
Brady Curtis 10.67m

Pumpkin Pull

1. Flaming Mongirls team – David Eiser, Steven Larter, Warwick Bates
2. Pump Up The Jam team – Sean Moloney, Trent Osborne, Jason Tooley

Pumpkin Bowls

1. Cameron Reed

Giant Pumpkin Competition

1. Marie Halkaus 64.8kg

Pumpkin Pageant Competition

1. Jeff Collins and Ian Nguyen
2. Angie Brown and Judy Ferguson

1. Maddison Richards
2. Renee Gillard

Pumpkin Mash Cash Raffle ($1000)

Alex Barsby

Pumpkin Patchwork Challenge

1. Margaret Knight (Bundaberg)
2. Sheila Corps (Battery Hill)

1. Samantha Hetherington (Wondai)
2. Ashley Knight (Goomeri)

Decorated Tea Towel Competition
1. Sheila Corps (Battery Hill)
2. Marie Kalkaus (Upper Caboolture)

Whipcracking Competition

8 years & Under:
1. Pita Tidmarsh
2. Mia Snailer
3. Beau Dowden

9-12 years:
1. Jorja Curran
2. Isla Airs
3. Louisa Frahm

13-16 years:
1. Olivia Frahm
2. Steph Arrell

1. Colin Erbacher
2. Jonathan Kotzur

Decorated Pumpkin Competition

Prep-Year 2:
1. Eli Richards
2. Hannah Court
3. Ethan Giles

Years 3-5:
1. Carissa Dascombe
2. Connor McCouat
3. Renee Gillard

Years 6-7:
1. Jacinta Rockemer
2. Hannah Campbell

1. Jacob McCouat
2. Fiona Richards
3. Sue Heaney


* * *


Video by Luke Soanes Media

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables


One Response to "Goomeri Shows How It’s Done"

  1. As usual, the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival was a massive crowd pleaser. So much activity and endless things to do. I thoroughly enjoyed entertaining audiences with my cooking comrades Matt Golinski and Glen Barratt. They are both incredibly passionate about regional farm fresh produce. They advocate for the growing trend of sourcing food as close as possible to the kitchen, buying local, supporting farmers and cooking delicious, healthy meals. Cheers to for covering the event through a wonderful gallery of photographs.

    Find some of the recipes cooked at the festival here:

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