WALCHA residents are gearing up for the annual Walcha Mountain Festival this weekend.
The event celebrates all things Walcha, as the inhabitants of the New England town prepare to show off the wares and attractions of the region, from art to food, fashion, architecture, poetry and “mad cow” rides.
The weekend is held in conjunction with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Mountain Bike Challenge, which is raced over a 100km track on Sunday and tours through national parks, local sights and properties throughout the Walcha region, returning to the starting point of the town’s showground.
There will also be some smaller rides, including a 70km event, two 30km events, with one for juniors, and an 11km event for families.
Entrants already number more than 150 for the challenge, and registrations are open until the start time of 7am.
The Walcha Mountain Festival will hold a road bike event of 75km on Saturday at 7am, with event organiser Gemma Clarke saying some overly keen people are doing both events during the two days.
The mountain festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, with the centrepiece of Saturday being the inaugural That Hurts billy cart challenge, down the aptly named Hill St.
Twenty-two businesses are sponsoring entrants in the two-at-a-time race format.
“There are plenty of people willing to sponsor and build the carts. We are still just looking for drivers, though,” Mrs Clarke said.
There will also be a horizontal bungy challenge and a sausage sizzle at the showground.
Saturday night will include a pasta night at the Royal Hotel that is supposed to be for the mountain bike entrants to load up on carbs before the event, and for non-entrants to load up on carbs from the pub’s other products.
Sunday morning kicks off with the mountain bike challenge at 7am, with trade stalls and entertainment starting at 8am at the showground.
The stalls will exhibit a range of Walcha produce, from arts and crafts to food and fashion.
The day will include the Australian Wool Fashion Awards Parade.
There will also be a mad cow ride going all day, including a competition, as well as a jumping castle and entertainment from the MC for the day, bush balladeer Australiana Bill, and Troy the Magician, who does a show for all ages.
Hourly tours of the historic Langford Homestead will be conducted from 9.30am by owner Barry Marshall on Sunday.
“There has been such a huge response this year that we have struggled to fit it all in. It will be two great days of Walcha-based fun, with the whole community and plenty of visitors getting involved,” Mrs Clarke said.