Grenfell locals and visitors alike are gearing up for their greatest street party in history – the 2023 Henry Lawson Festival celebrating one of Australia’s most legendary writers.
Join the revellers in Grenfell to celebrate the 2023 festival on the June long weekend (June 8-12). Experience a real country celebration with an exciting line-up of events in and around the charming town of Grenfell.
The Thursday of the event will kick off the weekend with the official opening by guest of honour, renowned social psychologist and bestselling author Hugh Mackay AO, and the Art Exhibition along with the announcement of the 2023 Festival King and Queen.
Back by popular demand, the street parade will return to the Saturday of the festival along with the addition of an authentic country street party. Visitors can enjoy market stalls, rides, competition presentations, roving street entertainers, and themed stage entertainment throughout Grenfell’s iconic Main Street.
The rest of the weekend is packed with good old country fun throughout the region. There is something for everyone on offer from car shows to camp oven cook offs. A weekend not to be missed with bus tours, guided bushwalks along with the popular open house at some of the region’s main attractions like Iandra Castle and Glencara – Home of The Rustic Maze. Don’t miss everything in between!
Check out the full program on the festival website and our guide – 20 great things to do during the Henry Lawson Festival for more information.
It’s not too late to enter the parade!
GREAT NEWS…. Applications to participate in the parade are STILL OPEN! See the Henry Lawson Festival website to apply today!
A traditional community event close to everyone’s heart and a highlight of the festival, the parade will take place on Saturday June 10 at 1.00pm. The parade creates a celebratory atmosphere and always draws a crowd with a spectacular moving street party down the Main Street.
Participants are asked to create a float that embraces the rich diversity and celebrates the vibrant local community. The theme of the festival this year is “Faces in the Street”.
It’s free to enter a float in the parade and participants could win $300 for first prize, $200 for second prize or $100 for third prize. Entry categories include Sports and Community, Best Festival Theme, Best School, Best Presented Car, and Best Presented Motorised Vehicle.
Get your float inspiration flowing! Judges will be looking for colour, creativity, vibrancy, uniqueness, enthusiasm, use of natural or re-cycled materials, low or zero emissions transport and floats that will help to create the party atmosphere the parade is renowned for.
20 great things to do during the Henry Lawson Festival…
With so much happening in and around Grenfell during the Henry Lawson Festival – here’s some great ways to spend your time over the June long weekend…
#1. Take tea with the Festival Queen at the Official Opening! The crowning of the Queen will be held at The Art Show on the Thursday evening. Awards will be presented and a light supper will then be served amongst a showcase of visual talent.
#2. Meet a bestselling author and all-round amazing human at the Official Opening! Take the opportunity to meet the official festival guest of honour, renowned social psychologist and bestselling author, Hugh Mackay AO. Described as “a wise elder”, Hugh’s life work has been to lead people to a greater awareness and understanding of both themselves and in turn others.
#3. Take in the street party or be part of the parade! Don’t forget you can still apply to be part of the street parade which will be held at 1pm on the Saturday. Wander the streets to take in the Micro Film Competition, the Photography, the poetry recitals, fashion parades and the party atmosphere. Also, check out the many amazing boutique stores, cafes, the Chrysler Car Museum and stop into a pub or two to sample an ale or share a yarn.
#4. Meet Henry Lawson his verse and stories! Festival favourite, Geoffrey W Graham brings Henry to life; his works, the genius of his pen and the bloke himself. Enjoy a poet’s breakfast or afternoon tea where Geoffrey’s spirited performance will bring Lawson’s words to life.
#5. Check out the Wood Chop! The ever-popular Wood Chop has been a feature with crowds since 1977. Make your way to the forefront of the Railway Hotel from 2pm-4pm on Saturday to cheer on the axemen as they masterfully wield their axes competitively smashing through the timber logs in record times.
#6. Don’t miss the poetry and performance by the Grenfell Dramatic Society! It’s what the festival is all about – celebrating the arts! Make sure you attend one of their many performances… Poetry by Firelight on Wednesday 7 June at 7.30pm, ‘Shorts’ – a season of one act plays on Sunday 11 June at 2pm, Friday 16 June at 7.30pm and Saturday 17 June at 7.30pm. Tickets can be purchased from Raine and Horne, Grenfell, or at the door for $15 adults $5 students.
#7. Don’t miss the fashion parade! Held annually at 12pm at Louisa’s Locker in the Main Street, the fashion parade will feature the latest range of seasonal trends modelled by some wonderful local identities. There’s everything from daywear to formal wear and accessories on show.
#8. Jump on the Cobb and Co Stagecoach for an exhilerating ride through the historic back streets of Grenfell. Take the family to the Kids Zone in Short Street for some fun and a chance to interact with the animals from Old Kentucky petting zoo. Grab a bite to eat and sit in one of the family friendly precinct locations in the Main Street for you to enjoy the performing musicians.
#9. Check out the epic Car Show! The Car Show has become an annual Sunday feature of the festival which attracts car enthusiast from miles away. Check out the pristine vehicles on display in Short Street. There is something for everyone with an array of impressive antique, classic and modern vehicles beautifully presented. Run by the Grenfell Car Club, participants will be hotly contesting first and second prizes and trophies.
#10. Visit the Chrysler Museum! Keep the revs up with a visit to the Chrysler Car Museum. Here you will see Chryslers spanning the years from 1930 to the present day including a Valiant Charger, Dodge, and Plymouth housed in an historic building. The Museum is open daily throughout the festival 9am -5pm and is located at 46 Main St. Entry is $5.
#11. Step back in time at the Grenfell Museum! Open Sunday 10am-12noon and Monday 10am-2pm, the Grenfell Historic Museum is located on Camp Street near the Post Office and Fire Station in the former School of Arts building. Exhibits at the Historic Museum are based on local history of the Weddin Shire including themed displays of the early lifestyle, gold mining, farming, bushrangers and famous identities (including Henry Lawson himself). Entry is $5 adults and $2 kids.
#12. Visit the impressive Grenfell Silo Art! You will find the creatively transformed silos on the corner of South Street and West Street, Grenfell. The mural was completed in 2019 and is a compilation of images representing the contemporary farming industry and landscape of the Weddin Shire.
#13. Take a historic bus tour! The historic bus tour leaves at 11.30am on Sunday, from Forbes Street, near the Motel. Geoff your entertaining tour guide will enlighten you with many amusing and graphic stories that will bring Grenfell’s history alive. Always an enjoyable outing with one of Grenfell’s notable identities.
#14. Head out to Caragabal for the Camp Oven Cook Off! Every year on Sunday of the June Long Weekend, Caragabal hosts the infamous Camp Oven Cook Off. A fun day the whole family will enjoy! Come for the day or camp for the night $20. There will be a camp oven and smoker cook off competition as well as a bonfire, raffles, wood auctions and games with hot food and drinks available and live music by the Free Spirits. Located on the Mid Western Highway, Caragabal.
#15. Don’t forget a photo of the Caragabal Bird Art! Don’t miss the opportunity for a great photo with the Caragabal Bird Art located on the Mid-Western Highway in the middle of Caragabal. It aims to celebrate the unique local bird life at Caragabal and raise awareness of local threatened species.
#16. Enjoy the icon Iandra Castle open day! Everyone’s favourite iconic Iandra Castle will be open on Sunday 11th June from 10am-2pm. Take a scenic drive and enjoy perfectly brewed coffee, with a decadent donut, or a Rotary lunch whilst enjoying the rambling grounds and garden of this spectacularly impressive historic homestead. Entry is $20 adults and $10 kids. Book ahead via the Iandra website – firstname.lastname@example.org
#17. Visit Glencara – Home of The Rustic Maze! This is a unique opportunity to visit and enjoy all Glencara has to offer at 706 Jerribang Lane, Monteagle. Enjoy a guided tour of the amazing shearing shed, garden and maze at 11am and 2pm. Glencara will be open 10am-4pm on Sunday 11th June. Enjoy the maze and many garden rooms in this beautiful country garden whilst taking in the spectacular rural views. Bring a picnic, order a grazing box or purchase some of the delicious eats and treats available on the day. Book ahead via trybooking. Entry is $18 adults over 16 years, $14 kids/seniors, $58 family (parents/3 kids). Kids under 5 years are free.
#18. Check out Bulla Creek Brewing Co! What a great weekend to check out the newly opened taphouse, Bulla Creek Brewing Co. Situated on a working family farm, all beer is brewed onsite using grain sourced from the Riverina and local produce. Opening hours for the Sunday will be 12-5pm. You will find Bulla Creek Co about 8kms along Jerrybang Lane, Monteagle. Entry is free.
#19. Hunt for treasure at Quandialla! The Quandialla CWA are holding a Trash and Treasure Sale in their CWA building, 12 Second Street. Call in for a treasure hunt and a friendly cuppa Saturday and Sunday 9am-3pm. While you are in the area – visit the recently completed Quandialla Memorial Hall Mural which depicts the rich history of the region.
#20. Check out the local arts and garden scene! Take the opportunity to visit some of the local art galleries such as the Patina Gallery – located at 166 Gooloogong Road, Grenfell. Opening hours will be Saturday 12noon-5pm, Sunday 10am-5pm, Monday 10am-2pm. The Wallangreen Sculpture Garden is also worth a visit with more than 100 steel sculptures displayed over a hectare amid landscaped areas. Wallangreen is located in Fitches Lane and will be open Saturday 10am -1pm, Sunday 10am-4pm and Monday 10am-3pm. Entry fee $8. Also stop by the Weddin Community Native Nursery which will be open on Monday the 12th of June, from 10am-2pm at 43 East Street.
Wander the Main Street and enjoy all the entertainment surprises this year’s Street Party offers. Get into the spirit of the Festival and get your ‘Mo Jo’ on and take a happy snap with Henry to remember your great day out.
A full festival itinerary and more information will be available as the festival organisation finalises. Competition entry forms and market stallholder applications are also available on the website for those wanting to be part of the festival.