Forget cross country skiing. Try melon skiing instead

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melon skiing in Chinchilla

melon skiing in Chinchilla

I could have been squelching – along with 18,000 other people – through 20 tonnes of melons last weekend if I had only known about it. And been in the Australian town of Chinchilla where it took place.

As it was, I missed it all, because I confess to having never heard of Chinchilla or the bi-annual melon festival that was held there. But to attract 18,000 people means this has become an important festival.

At the festival, visitors are invited to plunge their feet into fresh watermelons and take to the slopes for a spot of ‘melon skiing’. Apparently each strapped melon ski weighs about 18kgs (say 40lbs) so moving about isn’t easy. But if you need to build up strength in your ankles and legs it must be great. Perhaps we can add it to treatment on the NHS? But it must be sloppy and surely it must get sticky. Very sticky!  I’ll suggest it to Irene and Anne-Marie as both of them are skiers. Local melon farmer Terry O’Leary described it as having two pigs strapped to your feet and trying to get them to go in the same direction which is not only very visual but off-putting as well.

and what happens when you lose your footing!

and what happens when you lose your footing!

For non-skiers, visitors can also have a go at pip spitting, melon bungee, the melon chariot race and melon iron man. But the tug-of-war must be a nightmare with all those squashed melons destroying any possible grip you could get on the ground?

Who cares? It’s all a bit of fun which came about when Queensland  (which is where Chinchilla is) was experiencing a bad drought and locals dreamed up the idea to cheer up the locals. As the first one was being held the heavens opened and since then the festival has been a good luck omen.

Held every two years, Chinchilla is the melon capital of Australia because it produces 25% or so of all the melons produced in the country.

If your appetite is wetted for a fling to the melon capital of Oz, you’ll have to wait till the next one in February 2017.

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