26 April 2024

Autumn festival where 'everyone comes home' set to delight for another year in Tumut

| Claire Sams
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People in a street parade

Publicity officer Kate Howarth said there would be plenty of family-friendly fun for everyone to enjoy at the Falling Leaf Festival. Photo: Van Der Photography.

One of the Snowy Valleys’ most popular events is turning 70 this year and among the crowds thronging the streets will be plenty of familiar faces, drawn home by the Falling Leaf Festival.

“It’s a pretty big milestone, we haven’t missed a beat since 1954,” publicity officer Kate Howarth said.

“We even ran during COVID, when we went online.”

The 70th Falling Leaf Festival will be held between 26 and 28 April and is set to be bigger than ever, featuring a range of family-friendly events and activities.

Events in the Connection Centre precinct and The Montreal Community Theatre – Bioluminescence and the Comedy Gala – on Friday night (26 April), will set the tone for a weekend of fun and celebrations.

“For the Bioluminescence Project, people aged 12 to 24 took photos and video of the local environment, which has been digitally mapped, projected onto the buildings in town and put to music,” Ms Howarth said.

“We’ve never had anything like that in Tumut before.”

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Saturday kicks off with workshops around town including Cootamundra’s Coota Bollywood All Stars dance lessons and Shane Herrington Wolgalu Footprints’ Aboriginal Tools and Techniques workshop.

From 10 am right through to 6 pm the whole family can enjoy the Wynyard St markets, kids’ entertainment, street performers, busking and food trucks.

A traditional Smoking Ceremony by Shane Herrington and Welcome to Country from Aunty Sue Bulger will take place at midday, followed by the official opening at the Wynyard Street stage between The Local Pizzeria and the Woolpack Hotel. Live music starts on the main stage at 1 pm.

This year the live music kicks off with Len Connolly, from The Shadow of the king, Tumut’s very own Wiradjuri Elvis.

Throughout the afternoon you can enjoy Tumut High School students performing, as well as Natasha Proos, Daisy James and Sammy Martin, Wild Tracks and folk indie sensation Emily Lubitz.

“We want the festival to be something that the entire family can enjoy,” Ms Howarth said.

“We’ve got more than 70 market stalls and food trucks – it’s probably about 25 per cent more than we usually have.

“We try to choose local producers as much as we can.”

A man in an Elvis costume

Wiradjuri man Len Connolly will once again don the King’s iconic costume for the festival. Photo: Supplied.

The very popular Street Parade is back and will be a feature of the event, starting at 1 pm on the Saturday and including Tumut’s very own Mini collection and a surprise Giant Pumpkin related entry.

Keep an eye out for Commodore Farquharson as he makes his way down the main street.

“It’s a good, old-fashioned street parade and the crowd absolutely love it,” Ms Howarth said.

“The parade is famous in our region – it has everything from horse-drawn vehicles to vintage fire trucks, muscle cars, marching bands, community groups, all the schools and local businesses.”

Sunday will see participants hitting the pavement for an early morning fun run, more live music, a brewery tour and a fly-fishing workshop.

Ms Howarth encouraged those interested in attending to make sure they booked their spot.

“Tickets for the workshops and live shows are available through our website,” she said.

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Ms Howarth hopes the Falling Leaf Festival will bring visitors from far and wide to Tumut.

“It is a real joy to see tourists coming, to see the local caravan parks and accommodation filling up,” she said.

“This is a real celebration of the community and the local region here in the Snowy Valleys.

“There are so many different things to do in Tumut, and the festival just gives you a chance to experience a little taste of everything in one day.

“People can come up from Canberra on the Friday and spend the weekend enjoying what we have here.”

While the Falling Leaf Festival brings outsiders to Tumut, Ms Howarth said it also brought together residents.

“We put the call out and said we needed some people to step up so we could make this 70th birthday event something special,” she said.

“Now, we have a lot of new members to our committee this year, including a lot of young members.

“Like a lot of country towns, a lot of young people move away for work opportunities or study – but everyone comes home for the festival.”

The 2024 Falling Leaf Festival will be held between 26 and 28 April in Tumut. Further information and tickets are available online.

Original Article published by Claire Sams on About Regional.

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