Guyra's Lamb & Potato Festival starts next week

Guyra's biggest event, the Lamb and Potato Festival, begins next week.

Now in its 34th year, the festival celebrates Guyra's produce, crafts, and community, and promotes the town to visitors in the region for the Tamworth Country Music Festival. The festival is also the town's biggest fundraiser; last year, it raised $35,000 for community groups.

The festival begins on Wednesday, January 15, and thousands of visitors are expected over the next 12 days until it ends on Monday, Jan. 27. There will be stalls, displays, music - and, of course, food.

Last year, more than 200 legs of lamb and 300 kilograms of potatoes were served from the food gazebo in Rotary Park, on the New England Highway, thanks to 420 volunteers from 24 organisations.

"It's a massive event for a town the size of Guyra," committee president Steve Mepham said at the time.

The whole community, the Festival brochure states, will help with food preparation, night-time caretaking, and maintaining the site. Julie Gittoes will head the teams of 20 volunteers working two shifts a day - nearly 500 people over the course of the festival.

Near the gazebo, market stalls will sell leather goods, jewellery, hats, caravan and camping gear, ladies' fashions, and more.

Festival visitors can enjoy live music while they eat and shop. There will be two shows each day, on weekdays from noon to 2pm, and in the evenings from 5 to 7pm (8pm on Friday and weekend nights).

A Drought Relief concert, funded by council, will be held in Bradley Street on Saturday, January 18. The concert is designed to entertain locals affected by drought and fire, and encourage visitors to support businesses in town.

Local arts and crafts will be on display and for sale at the Anglican Church Hall each day from 9am. Items range from bags, cushions, and rugs to woodwork, china, and homemade biscuits and jams.

Art lovers should also make a beeline for the the Guyra Art Exhibition at the GALA Centre, 136 Bradley Street, from Jan. 17 to 27, organised by the CWA Guyra Evening Branch. It features local and visiting artists exhibiting artworks, sculptures, and garden art.

The Festival ends on the weekend of January 25 to 26 with the Australia Day celebrations, when Guyra's citizen of the year will be announced.

There will also be displays of vintage caravans, military vehicles, model trains, an antique machinery rally, and an automobile show and shine.