October 3, 2010
After having the town’s Christmas Festival washed out twice in a row and Sunday’s inaugural Rail Trail Festival brought to an abrupt halt by a downpour, some people could be forgiven for thinking Murgon can’t take a trick lately.
But the festival’s organisers – and many stall-holders – didn’t begrudge the unexpected deluge, and have every intention of running the event again next year.
“The rain was unfortunate, but our farmers really needed it and things were going very well until it started,” Murgon Business and Development Association president Leo Geraghty said.
“Really, were we astonished at how many people came out to support our Festival considering how overcast and windy Sunday turned out to be.
“I estimate we had at least 1000 to 1500 people on the grounds between 6:00am and 11:30am, and I think we would have easily doubled that if it had been a normal sunny October day.”
While he hadn’t spoken to all the stallholders who took part in the festival, Leo said the Lions Club had already told him they were very happy with their half-day’s effort and he thought that probably applied to many others, too.
“We had at least 65 runners taking part in the 3km, 5km, 10km, half marathon and full marathon events, and I’ve heard there were about 30 to 40 people taking part in each session of the giant obstacle course we set up inside Murgon Showgrounds.
“The billy cart races drew a lot of kids, and the pig races were very popular, too.
“And the car and motorbike show, the petting zoo, the Men’s Shed’s display of wagons and the mini train ride involved people all morning.”
The rain, which was threatening as the last of the day’s runners crossed the finish line and mounted the dais to receive their awards, began to fall about 11:30am and quickly turned into downpour.
Stallholders who could get away hastily packed up and made for their cars, while those that couldn’t sheltered under tents or in the alcoves and awnings of nearby stores.
The deluge last about half an hour but by the time it stopped the Festival’s planned run to a 2:00pm finish had been prematurely cut short.
Nonetheless, Leo said he was confident the event will be back in 2019, and the odds of a fine day next time are much stronger.
“We had so much support for this festival from so many different quarters that we were amazed,” he said.
“But it tells us this is something lots of people want so yes, we’re certainly doing it again next year.”
Murgon’s next two big events are the BP Dam Inland Fishing Classic, which will run on October 6-7, and the Murgon Music Muster, which will run from October 29 to November 4.