THE “perfect storm” of fine weather and school holidays helped Nundle celebrate its Go for Gold Chinese Easter Festival with record numbers over the weekend.
A giant gold, inflated dragon welcomed huge crowds as the town’s population of 300 swelled to 16,000 on Saturday and Sunday.
Jenkins and Oakenville Street closed for the weekend, playing host to 100 market stallholders, Chinese dancers, musicians and pedestrians.
Nundle Go For Gold Chinese Easter Festival Committee chairman Nick Bradford said the annual festival celebrates the influence of Chinese and European migrants, following the discovery of gold at Hanging Rock in 1852.
“We’ve had the perfect storm this year,” he said.
“The festival has fallen in the middle week of school holidays, so people have travelled from southern Queensland, Sydney and western NSW.
“We (at the Nundle Woollen Mill) had our biggest trading day ever (on Saturday).
“And this weather, well how do you get better than this?”
A highlight for many visitors was the colourful, twice-daily traditional Chinese dancing by a troupe of 45 performers from the Australian Yau Kung Mu Association, and multicultural communities of NSW.
Crowds donated money donated into the mouths of the dancing lions and dragons goes, which goes back into the Nundle community.
Festival-goers also had the chance to strike gold, as local Geoff Cummins offered workshops to pan for 20 grams of genuine Nundle gold, including four nuggets, valued at more than $1000.
Live music was also on offer with Golden Guitar winner John Krsulja, Jeff Gibson, Rachel Webster and Matt Thomson as Born in October, and Brendan Nawrocki hitting the stage, as well as Sydney guests Sax Summit, and David Wei and Eva Timms.
The festival, in its 19th year, is supported by Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) through Destination Tamworth.
“This festival wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for TRC,” Mr Bradford said.