Get your melon on at one of Australia’s most successful festivals

Woah, were we impressed by the Chinchilla Melon Festival! It was absolutely packed with visitors (I mean, packed!) and seemed incredibly well organised.

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Huge kudos to the event’s committee, and the sponsors who helped to make it happen.

Though the Melon Festival offers a week of activities, Tilma Group’s Kushla went just for the main day on Saturday - but now I know what the event is like, I wish I had planned an overnight stay.

Kushla in her ready-to-get-wet-and-melon-y outfit alongside one of the pinup melon girls!

Kushla in her ready-to-get-wet-and-melon-y outfit alongside one of the pinup melon girls!

Beginning with a parade, and ending with melon games and free watermelon, with hundreds of market stalls to explore, the day was packed with fun (click to the right to see the carousel of photos).


Risk Management

I would have thought the games were the biggest risk with personal injuries possible but an eye-opener was this:

This was a waist-deep flooded hole by early afternoon

This was a waist-deep flooded hole by early afternoon

Do you have “burst water main and no water in the whole town” in your risk management plan?

For several hours in the middle of the day the melon festival had no running water!

As a visitor, if I hadn’t seen the construction right on the corner of the festival site, I wouldn’t have noticed, but I wonder how the organisers coped. There were water trucks for participants to shower in but I heard these had run dry by the end of the day (when the town water came back on).

What impressed me

• Funny all-day commentary from the MCs

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• Comprehensive all-day acknowledgement of sponsors by MCs, on signage and on the big screen

• All the dressed up visitors (I didn’t know before I went that I should dress up - #kickingmyself)

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• Grandstand seating, very good audio, and a big screen to show participants close up

• Getting huge crowds of participants to experience the games

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• Great fun for participants and for spectators

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• A chill out and (phone) recharge station provided by an energy company sponsor (some sponsors had info stalls - but this was a smart way to engage event attendees)

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• MCs invited the crowds to volunteer with clean up

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• The generosity of free watermelon from local farmers

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• Free sunscreen on a hot day

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• Waste going to a good cause

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What could be improved

I asked some visitors what could be done better and there was silence while they thought… it was hard to think of anything missing

• I didn’t see any promotion of ‘use our hashtag and share your photos on social media’ (but I’m sure everyone was sharing anyway!)

• There were long lines to enter the games, so maybe letting people at the end of the line up know they could go away and come back later in the afternoon so they didn’t have to wait (and this may have happened)

• I didn’t see signage to help visitors find drinking fountains

I was happy to just watch (though I’d brought a change of clothes) so I can’t give any perspective on how things were managed for the participants.

Income streams

A huge free event (free parade, free games, free melon, free cooking demo) has to be paid for somehow!

  • Very well-acknowledged sponsors

  • Stallholders fees

  • $5 entry to shaded ringside bar tent


I don’t know if there was a fee to register for the games, or for parade entrants.

All in all a great day, and congratulations on winning the Wotif next big thing. The MC said there is always people stopping for a selfie. We got ours, of course!

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The end of a great day

The end of a great day

Linda TillmanComment